By Saqib Majeed
Older adults are at a greater risk of dying or getting hospitalized in critical conditions if infected with COVID-19. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years or older. That’s why we need to know the risks associated with COVID-19.
If you have an older adult in your home or in your family, we need to know the following:
- Risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.
- Certain medical conditions can also increase risk for severe illness.
- People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
Older age combined with some comorbidities can be deadly if infected with COVID-19. This makes older adults a high-risk group.
For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.
Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may require:
- intensive care, or a
- ventilator to help them breathe, or
- they may even die.
Similarly, age also increases risk of hospitalization. Older adults are at greater risk of requiring hospitalization or dying if they are diagnosed with COVID-19. As you get older, your risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 increases.
Certain medical conditions can also be deadly if you catch COVID-19 virus. Adults of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
We still don’t know much about COVID-19 but based on the data we have, adults of any age with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
- Liver disease
- Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
It is especially important for people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and those who live with them, to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to:
- Limit your interactions with other people as much as possible.
- Take precautions to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.
If you start feeling sick and think you may have COVID-19, get in touch with your healthcare provider within 24 hours.
If you are considering in-person visits to a family member please reconsider. If you still want to do it, please observe the following protocols:
- Observe social distancing
- Wear masks
- Wash your hands regularly
- Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items
If you are facing any health-related issues or need any assistance you can always contact Kandakacare. Our professional healthcare workers are fully qualified to assist you at home without risking your health.
We publish new and useful articles every week containing highly useful information about elderly and how to make their lives easier and healthier. If you have an elderly person at home, we advise you to follow our weekly articles on our Kandakacare page and share with your friends.