PEOPLE with metabolic syndrome are three times more likely to die if they contract the coronavirus, experts have revealed.
Patients with a combination of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity were found to have more severe outcomes than others.
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A study by Tulane University found that people suffering with conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease had higher death rates when catching Covid.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Experts have now said that the more of these diagnoses that you have “the worse the outcomes” if you contract the coronavirus.
Researchers followed the health of 287 patients that had been hospitalised with Covid at Tulane Medical Centre and the University Medical Center in New Orleans.
They monitored these patients from March 30 to April 5.
This was the peak of the pandemic in New Orleans.
The researchers found that more than 85 per cent of patients were non-hispanic black.
What is metabolic syndrome?
THE NHS states that metabolic syndrome is a combination of several conditions.
Patients who are obese, have high blood pressure and diabetes fall into this category.
Having all three together is particularly dangerous.
What are the symptoms?
- inability to control sugar levels
- irritation and swelling of body tissue
- waist of 94cm or more in European men, or 90cm or more in South Asian men
- waist of 80cm or more in European and South Asian women
- high levels of fat in the blood
- blood pressure that is consistently 140/90mmHg or higher
The mean age was 61 years and the majority of patients were women (57 per cent).
Almost 66 per cent of the patients who participated in the survey had metabolic syndrome.
The most common conditions were hypertension (80 per cent), obesity (65 per cent), diabetes (54 per cent), and low HDL (39 per cent).
In order to make a valid comparison, the researchers looked at two groups.
Those who had metabolic syndrome and those who did not.
They found that 56 per cent of metabolic syndrome patients had to be admitted to intensive care, against 24 per cent who did not have the condition.
Of those who required a ventilator, 48 per cent of patients with metabolic syndrome needed one, while just 18 per cent of patients without this condition were put on a ventilator.
Looking at conditions that patients developed and 37 per cent of people with metabolic syndrome developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), against 11 per cent of patients who did not have the condition.
The researchers found that 26 per cent of patients with metabolic syndrome died – while 10 per cent without the condition also died.
After accounting for age, hospital location, race and sex, the researchers said people with metabolic syndrome were 3.4 times more likely to die than those who did not have the conditions.
The experts said they were five times more likely to need a ventilator, develop ARDS and be admitted to the ICU.
However, the study did not find an increased rate of mortality when just one of the conditions clustered with metabolic syndrome were identified.
They did however state that being obese or having diabetes were associated with a greater chance that a patient would need to be put on a ventilator or would need to be admitted to the ICU.
Lead author Dr Joshua Denson said: "Together, obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels are all predictive of higher incidents of death in these patients.
"The more of these diagnoses that you have, the worse the outcomes.”
He added that the underlying inflammation that is seen with metabolic syndrome may be the driver that is leading to these more severe cases.
"Metabolic syndrome should be considered a composite predictor of Covid-19 lethal outcome, increasing the odds of mortality by the combined effects of its individual components," Dr Denson said.
Dr Denson also advised that anyone who has metabolic syndrome should be vigilant when it comes to their exposure to the virus.
"It doesn't matter if you're young or old — we took that into account.
"You really should be extra careful. I would say it should impact both preventing your exposures and, if you end up getting sick, you should probably see your doctor sooner."
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