Sara Middleton via NaturalHealth365 – Throughout this pandemic, it’s been understood by doctors and researchers that people with underlying chronic conditions appear more likely to not only get infected by SARS-CoV-2 but also have a more severe or even fatal bout of COVID-19.
But new research out of Tufts University in Boston points the finger at four specific conditions that appear to dramatically increase a person’s risk of becoming hospitalized with an infectious illness and underlines the critical importance (on an individual and public health scale) of taking steps to reduce disease risk.
Two-Thirds of All COVID-19 Hospitalizations Are Due to These Four Conditions, According to New Tufts Research
The Tufts researchers published the results of their study in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA). They used statistical modeling and mathematical simulation techniques to estimate the number of hospitalizations that could have been prevented in the United States if people didn’t have the following four major cardiometabolic diseases.
These diseases include obesity, diabetes, heart failure, and hypertension. Based on data they compiled from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network database, the COVID Tracking Project, and nationally represented data from a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found that nearly a third of all COVID-19 hospitalizations as of November 2020 was due to obesity, about a quarter was due to hypertension and diabetes, and around 12 percent was due to heart failure, a form of heart disease.
The authors conclude, “A substantial proportion of U.S. COVID‐19 hospitalizations appear attributable to major cardiometabolic conditions. These results can help inform public health prevention strategies to reduce COVID‐19 healthcare burdens.”
Here Are 4 “Surprising” Facts About Lifestyle Interventions and Chronic Disease
Exercise the body, eat whole (organic) foods, avoid highly processed food, don’t overeat, stay at a healthy weight, avoid smoking, manage your stress levels – at this point, healthy lifestyle tips like these practically sound like boilerplate advice for people looking to improve their health and reduce their disease risk. But the importance of these strategies can’t be overlooked.
For a little perspective (and perhaps some extra incentive to commit or re-commit to your health habits), here are 4 things about the link between lifestyle and chronic disease that might surprise you:
- According to Obesity in Action, losing just 5-10 percent of your body weight is associated with several important changes in the body that can reduce inflammation, lower your triglyceride levels by an average of 40 mg/dl, raise your “healthy” HDL cholesterol levels by about 5 points, and decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 5 mmHg – all factors which can have a tremendous impact on heart disease risk.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises people, especially older adults, to reduce their exposure to environmental toxins, including smoke, carbon monoxide, fumes, pesticides, and heavy metals associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Yes, the “five a day” advice stands up to scientific scrutiny. According to a recent study cited by the National Institutes of Health, eating five servings of fruits and veggies per day on average is associated with a 13 percent reduced risk of death compared to eating just two servings per day. 2017 research out of Imperial College London also suggests that eating as much as 10 servings per day could offer added health benefits.
- Consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is linked with just about every chronic disease under the sun, including “weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, depression,” as well as “impaired immune function, increased pain, impaired performance, increased errors, and greater risk of accidents,” according to a 2015 joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.
So, there you have it: despite what you hear (or not) from the mainstream media … there is so much we can do to feel better. The key is to get started, stay focused and never give up on our health and well-being.
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