Obesity has been identified as a risk factor of COVID-19. It triggers an inflammatory state of the patient’s body, which in turn weakens the patient’s immune system. Obesity can result in the overproduction of cytokines, which damages the organs in the body, including heart and kidneys. Since infection of the coronavirus also triggers the immune system to release cytokines, patients with obesity also infected with coronavirus usually have excessive amounts of cytokines in their bodies. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease and blood clot formation in patients. What’s worse, obesity can also damage the patient’s respiratory system. Obesity in many patients is usually accompanied by lung diseases, including sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome. These lung conditions worsen the outcome of COVID-19 infection.
A recent study by Cleveland Clinic has found out that bariatric surgery, which substantially reduces the weight of patients with obesity, can decrease the risk of negative outcomes in obese patients infected with COVID-19. Cleveland Clinic used a matched cohort study method by matching COVID-infected patients who had weight-loss surgery before and obese patients without weight-loss surgery history. It turned out that patients who received prior bariatric surgery and sustained their weight loss tended to have lower rates of diabetes and hypertension, and they were also less likely to suffer from severe COVID-19-related symptoms. In addition, bariatric surgery was associated with up to a 40% reduction in the cardiovascular problems of obese patients.
This research result can motivate people with obesity to consider bariatric surgery as a way to reduce the health risk associated with COVD-19, which could benefit 70% of the American adults who are either overweight or concerned with obesity.
Cleveland Clinic. "Research shows bariatric surgery may reduce severity of COVID-19 in patients with obesity: Prior weight-loss surgery associated with lower rate of hospital admission." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201125091519.htm>.