While our attention is firmly fixed on the COVID-19 Coronavirus right now, there is a bigger health issue that needs to be understood by people in the US and around the world.
A recent article in Bloomberg titled, “99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says,” illustrates an overlooked point in the corona-panic taking the world by storm: the status of one’s immune system and overall health determines morbidity (getting a disease) and mortality (being subject to death).
The study found that, “More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.”
Moreover, “The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions. More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.”
This is concerning for Americans because the prevalence for high blood pressure is about 63% among those aged 60 and over in the US and the prevalence for diabetes is about 10% of the population (34.2 million people).
High blood pressure and diabetes are factors of Metabolic Syndrome (a disorder of metabolism). Metabolic Syndrome is increasingly common and up to 30% of U.S. adults have it and about 44% of people over 50 years of age are affected by it.
A much bigger emphasis needs to be placed on educating people about Metabolic Syndrome and its factors. The factors of Metabolic Syndrome are high blood pressure, high blood sugar (high blood glucose), insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol levels (such as low HDL “good” cholesterol or high LDL “bad” cholesterol), high triglycerides and excess fat around the waist.
If you have any one of the above factors you have a metabolic disorder – an imbalance or deficiency – that negatively affects the way your body functions. This also means you have an increased risk of a serious health condition, such as cardiovascular disease. If you have 3 or more factors, this is commonly referred to as Metabolic Syndrome and your risk increases even more.
Every 5 seconds someone is diagnosed with a condition caused by metabolic disorder and every 10 seconds somebody dies from a metabolic health issue (this is without adding COVID-19 Coronavirus). Metabolic Syndrome is one of the most important health challenges we currently face.
COVID-19 Coronavirus will pass but we’ll still be left with millions of Americans with metabolic disorder and potentially at risk for the next virus.