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What does being overweight have to do with coronavirus?

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COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is claiming new victims every day. Doctors are searching desperately for a coronavirus drug and an explanation why the coronavirus is able to spread so quickly and massively. This search has led to a number of remarkable conclusions. Apparently, there seems to be a link between obesity and the impact of COVID-19 on patients.

Majority of coronavirus patients in IC is overweight

Doctors across the world are reporting that a remarkable number of coronavirus patients placed in intensive care (IC) with severe COVID-19 symptoms is overweight. According to chairman of the Dutch intensive care association Diederik Gommers, this number is around 80% in the Netherlands. Also in other countries, the majority of coronavirus patients in IC units is overweight or classed as obese.

What is the connection between being overweight and the coronavirus?

There are several possible explanations. Some doctors believe that the virus replicates more easily if there are more fat cells stored in the body. Others believe that extra weight around the chest constricts the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe. The prevalence of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure among obese people could also make them more vulnerable to the virus.

Want to lose weight to reduce your risk of coronavirus?

Are you afraid that you have more risk of getting coronavirus? Losing weight quickly to prevent serious COVID-19 complications is not recommended by doctors. Crash diets weaken the immune system and right now, you want to keep your immune system strong. Eating healthy food, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep are crucial things you can do for your body. Furthermore, it’s important that you follow the NHS guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus and keep others from getting sick. In our current lockdown situation, you might find yourself eating a little more than usual. Although this is only natural, try not to gain too much weight. If you are concerned about your weight and would like to lose some pounds, then do so gradually and in a healthy way.

Poor sleeping habits increase the chance of weight gain

Sleep does not only strengthen your body’s immune system, it also reduces the chance of weight gain. When the body is sleep deprived the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin spikes, leading to an increase in hunger. So, when you’re tired, you tend to eat more.

Do you want to reduce your chances of getting the flu and COVID-19 and also minimise your chances of weight gain? Then getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.

Tips for a good night’s rest

Do you have difficulty sleeping? It is possible to increase the production of a ‘sleep hormone’ called melatonin. Here are some tips that will help you sleep better.

  • Turn off all blue-light screens (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, computers) two hours before going to bed. Blue light suppresses melatonin production.
  • Draw curtains and dim lights before going to bed. Darkness stimulates melatonin production and triggers sleepiness.
  • Try to maximise exposure to natural light during the day. Exposure to more light during the day helps to calibrate your body’s circadian clock (sleep-wake cycle) and the production of melatonin.
  • Avoid being too active in the evening. Going for a jog or wallpapering a room before bedtime is not a very good idea. Try to do something relaxing like reading a book or having a bath.
  • Be careful with alcohol, coffee and black tea. These drinks contain stimulant substances, which can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.

Mind your health, eat healthily, get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

About is a platform for connecting patients with doctors and pharmacies, enabling targeted treatment and care. believes in responsible self-management of treatable health conditions.


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