With coronavirus being a global epidemic, people are going gaga over face masks and hand sanitizers. But what is coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of zoonotic viruses, that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice-versa, causing flu-like symptoms and affecting the immune system heavily. The recent epidemic is a result of the novel COVID-19 strain, but previously other strains of coronavirus have been reported to cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
The common symptoms and signs of coronavirus infection include cough, shortness of breath, fever, respiratory problems, and other breathing difficulties. In severe cases, these signs can develop into pneumonia, kidney and lung failures, acute respiratory syndrome, and maybe even death. To avoid the spread of coronavirus, preventive measures like washing of hands, using medically approved sanitizers, wearing face masks, not visiting crowded places etc. have to be taken care of. But alongside, it is also important to know the risk factors of coronavirus disease. This article helps you with the same.
Risk Factors of Coronavirus Disease
Coronavirus COVID-19 is a biased threat and being elderly or having secondary infections can greatly increase the risk of coronavirus disease fatality. Below are some risk factors that can fuel the effects of COVID-19.
- Age and Sex
Based on disease epidemiology data, China CDC reported that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in China, i.e. around 87% were people between the age of 30 and 79. Although coronavirus infections are also seen in children below 20, the percentage is just around 8%. The age-related risk of coronavirus is owed to the deteriorating health conditions in the old age and a tendency to develop respiratory problems with age.
Although the age-related risk factor is much heavy on the sex-related risk factor criteria, preliminary data suggest that men might be more susceptible to the coronavirus infection. But then again, it is possible that the apparent male-oriented imbalance reflects the patterns of travel and contacts, making men more likely to be exposed without any significant biological differences in the #coronavirus infection mechanism for males and females.
COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease and it is not alien to the public that smoking worsens the situation of respiratory illness and makes one more prone to lung and alveolar damage, besides weakening the body immunity. Although it is not proven whether smoking makes people more susceptible to COVID-19 infection specifically, but health experts say that smoking can worsen the symptoms manifold and is a major risk factor for lower tract respiratory problems. People with a history of smoking can always increase the risk of severe respiratory distress, according to epidemiologist Saskia Popescu.
- Pre-existing Chronic Diseases
People with already-existing illness or secondary infections are more likely to get infected with COVID-19, and statistically speaking, men are at a higher incidence of living with chronic respiratory diseases. Co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, or chronic respiratory diseases like COPD are also stated by China’s CDC reports to be a likely cause for #coronavirus disease severity as fatality rates in patients were 10.5% for cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for COPD-related diseases, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer, whereas it is reported to be only 0.9% for patients without any secondary health illness conditions.
Chinese media had reported a case of coronavirus infected pregnant lady giving birth to a baby who was later tested positive. It might be the case that newborns are infected due to close contact with COVID-19 affected mothers but COVID-19 transfer through the placenta has not been scientifically proven to give any strong remarks about it. But even if the scenario of placental transfer can be dismissed, it is highly probable that pregnant mothers are more prone to COVID-19 infections as pregnancy loosens the stringency of the immune system to prevent the fetus. Therefore, pregnant women are more susceptible to COVID-19 infections than non-pregnant women.
As for treating COVID-19, the best tactics is immuno-modulation as it can prevent the respiratory inflammation symptoms in the body and also prevent the severe immune entropy. Besides developing vaccines and antibodies against COVID-19 structural identities, stem cell therapy can be a major step as stem cells can aid in immuno-modulation function in the body and also work towards treating the co-morbidities like diabetes and respiratory damage.