We are still very much in the grip
of the Covid-19 pandemic, with more restrictions coming into effect across the
country to try to stem the spread of the virus.
Many of us are doing what we can to stay safe – reducing
social contacts, wearing masks when shopping and working from home, if possible
- but what else can we do to minimise our risk?
While most people who develop Covid-19 will be either
asymptomatic (no symptoms) or have a mild form of the disease, some will go on
to develop serious symptoms and will need hospital treatment.
While there remain many unknowns about coronavirus, we know there
are myriad factors that affect an individual’s risk1. These include
age, comorbidities (having other illnesses, such as heart disease, some
cancers, and respiratory conditions), and being overweight or obese.
Although there is no evidence to suggest that being overweight
or obese increases the risk of actually catching the virus, scientists know
that having too much body fat increases the risk of developing a more severe
type of Covid-192.
In fact, a review of 75 international studies showed that
obesity is a significant risk factor for illness and death due to Covid-193:
compared to those who are a “normal” weight or even overweight, people who were
obese were twice as likely to need hospital treatment.
Once in hospital, obese patients were 75% more likely to have
to need intensive care treatment. They were also nearly 50% more likely to die
from the virus.
When you consider that almost two-thirds of adults in England
are classed as being overweight or obese4 – when measured as Body
Mass Index (BMI) over 25 – these are sobering statistics.
It’s important to understand that the risks vary from person
to person and it doesn’t mean that if you are obese and test positive for
Covid-19 that you will definitely develop a severe form of the illness. But you
might decide that now is a good time to start thinking more about your health
and your weight.
Why is obesity a
significant risk factor?
Public Health England has estimated that if you have a BMI of
35 to 40, it could increase your risk of dying from Covid-19 by 40%. If you
have a BMI over 40 that risk increases by 90%5.
When the body stores excess fat, it is stored in the liver and
in the skeletal muscle, as well as in the lungs. It means that the additional
fat can affect the respiratory system and the body’s immune response to
fighting infection. Research6 has shown that obesity could cause
what’s called a “hyperactive immune system response” to Covid-19, which makes
it far more difficult for the body to fight the virus.
This overactive immune response can lead to a cytokine storm.
Cytokines are small proteins that stop viruses from reproducing, but if the
body’s immune response goes into overdrive it releases too many of them. It’s
not a complication unique to Covid-19, though; it’s common in other respiratory
Other health problems linked to obesity, such as type 2
diabetes, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, can also lead to
complications if you have Covid-19.
It is why the Government launched its campaign7 in the
summer to try to encourage us to manage our weight better.
We know it’s not always easy to lose weight – even when we know
it’s the right thing to do. While we understand that it’s about eating less and
moving more, there are other issues that could impact on our desire to lose a
few pounds, including lifestyle and lack of motivation.
And how many of us have started to shed the pounds, only to
put it back on (and sometimes more) when we’ve stopped paying attention to what
we put in our mouths?
Helping you to lose weight
If you’ve tried to diet, or you have a medical condition, such
as type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or hypothyroidism, or you’re on a medication that makes it
difficult to lose weight, you may need medical intervention to help you lose
Buy Saxenda from Webmed from only £75
Find out more
If you are clinically obese, with a BMI of at least 28 with
co-morbidities or 30 without, you could be suitable for an effective appetite
suppressant that has been clinically proven to assist people wanting to lose
Saxenda is the UK’s only licensed appetite suppressant and it
is only available on private prescription.
How does it work?
The body produces glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1) - a hormone
that helps to regulate appetite - and Saxenda, which was originally developed
as a therapy for diabetics and approved for use in Europe in 2009, works like
GLP-1. It acts on brain receptors, which in turn helps to control your
appetite, which can help you to reduce how much you eat.
Used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet and an
exercise plan, Saxenda can help you lose weight and keep it off.
How do I take it?
Saxenda is a pre-filled pen containing 18mg of liraglutide in
a 3ml of solution and you simply inject it just under the skin - usually upper
arm, thigh, or stomach once a day. The dose gradually increases from just 0.6mg
in the first week up to 3mg by week five; this enables your body to gradually
get used to the treatment, helping to minimise any side effects that often
occurs with weight-loss products.
You can read more about how Saxenda
can help you to lose weight sensibly and how you can get an assessment from
our doctors to see if it is right for you.
(accessed October 27 2020)
- https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907966/PHE_insight_Excess_weight_and_COVID-19__FINAL.pdf(page 6)
(accessed October 30 2020)
The Collision of Meta-Inflammation and SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Infection.
Endocrinology. September 2020. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa154
by: Jayne Howarth, October 30th 2020.