People with multimorbidity and polypharmacy are more likely to contract COVID-19

You’ve heard that some people are in a higher risk group regarding COVID-19 complications. People with some health issues and older people are much more likely to die from COVID-19 than others. However, a new study from the University of Glasgow shows that there are some health conditions that can be linked not only to complications but also a positive COVID-19 test. What does it mean?

People in the risk groups should be more careful in public to protect themselves from COVID-19. Image credit: Goryncheg via Wikimedia

It seems like the world will have to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. Who knows how long. And we cannot stay in a lockdown forever either, because the human world is built on labour. The good thing is that we now know more about this disease, how it spreads and how it can be combated. Meaning that in the future a more targeted, selective lockdown may be a smarter idea, because most people can go through COVID-19 without major health concerns.

However, scientists now say that it is not just about the risk of complications. Certain factors may contribute to the positive test result as well. For example, this new study revealed that multimorbidity (having  two or more long term health conditions) and polypharmacy (taking multiple medications) are linked to a higher COVID-19 risk. Scientists made these findings by analysing UK Biobank data, including 428,199 adults aged 37-73.

This is actually the first study of its kind to assess these risks. Scientists found that multimorbidity, particularly when a person has two or more cardiometabolic health conditions (for example, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), is associated with a 77% higher risk of a positive COVID-19 test. Interestingly, scientists also found that non-white people with multimorbidity are three times more likely to get a positive result from a COVID-19 test. Overall, scientists found that risk factors of multimorbidity and polypharmacy are much more relevant in socioeconomically deprived areas.

Multimorbidity and polypharmacy are big public health problems in their own right. Scientists all over the world are trying to find ways to help people live without chronic conditions and without taking too many different medicines. However, due to our lifestyles it is increasingly difficult. Frances Mair, one of the authors of the study, said: “Given the high prevalence of multimorbidity, particularly in older age groups, the more detailed understanding of the associations between these complex health needs and COVID-19, as provided in this study, will improve our understanding of the risks and help us better advise those most vulnerable to severe infection”.

COVID-19 is going to bother us for the years to come. We have to find more efficient and effective ways to cope with it. Hopefully, understanding the risks will help us moving forward in this pandemic.


Source: University of Glasgow

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