People with diabetes and obesity are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, because both conditions produce chronic inflammation that compromises the correct regulation of the immune response. and exacerbates the severity of the disease, in addition to prolonging the recovery period, said the scientist from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), Isabel Salazar Sánchez, who urged those suffering from these diseases to exercise extreme caution.
The virology expert from the National School of Biological Sciences (ENCB) stated that the immune system of those with diabetes and obesity has an alteration and therefore their defense mechanisms are affected.
He noted that in addition to levels of inflammation markers such as Interlecucin-6 and IL-1beta, patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes have platelets that are highly sensitive to activation or in constant activation, which suggests additional clotting problems in them compared to a clinically healthy person, so when falling ill with COVID-19 they reach a higher rate of inflammation and can present thrombotic complications in less time.
He stressed that the damage caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in different organs is related to the activation of the endothelium (internal surface) of the capillary vessels; "That constant activation generated by inflammation seems to favor the formation of thrombi (blood clots)," he said.
Dr. Salazar Sánchez explained that when the body identifies damage to the capillary vessels certain substances are released, one of them is the von Willebrand factor (glycoprotein that helps the blood clotting), which is a signal for platelets to get to the site to repair the damage. "The problem is that due to the high rate of inflammation this becomes extensive and small thrombi form inside the capillaries, such structures become so extensive that they obstruct the circulation of the blood ”, he pointed out.
He explained that, among other events, due to the presence of blood clots, elevate D-dimers, which are products of degradation of fibrin (a protein that favors coagulation by acting as a connector between platelets that repair damage to the capillaries).
The polytechnic researcher recommended that the D-dimer test be performed on seriously ill patients to detect if they suffer deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and / or pulmonary embolism (PE), since the elevation of the level of D-dimers it indicates the extensive formation of thrombi, in a dysregulated coagulation process in which they are degraded by plasmin (the main enzyme for the dissolution of blood clots that form from the accumulation of fibrin).
He said that the damage to blood vessels and thrombosis are due to a hyperstimulation of the immune response, which produces excessive inflammation caused by cytokines (Molecules produced by cells, particularly the immune system, which regulate immune responses), "therefore, when they increase they give rise to excessive inflammation that can continue to act even when the virus is no longer present in the body, thus the severity of the patient is increased by this extreme immune response, "he said.
He stressed that in addition to being pulmonary, in the most severe cases, thrombosis can also occur systemically (throughout the body), which has a high degree of lethality. In this situation, Dr. Salazar indicated that the high rates of obesity and diabetes that are registered in the country make the population more vulnerable, so that the measures of protection at home and healthy distance should be applied with greater emphasis to reduce the impact in these risk groups.
Further, He called on those with dry mouth, thirst and excessive hunger, as well as frequent urination, to have a laboratory study to determine their blood glucose index.Because there are a significant number of people who have diabetes and are unaware of it, which puts them at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19 and other types.
As a society, he concluded, we want immediate results, But we must understand that this pandemic is long-term, therefore, until an effective treatment or vaccine is found to counteract the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, preventive measures must be taken to reduce its impact on this and future waves of infection.
MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC:
Coronavirus in Mexico: in 18 states more than 50% of confirmed cases suffer from chronic diseases
López-Gatell: 80% of critically ill patients could die despite receiving treatment
Obesity and diabetes exacerbate the coronavirus epidemic in Mexico
Obesity and poverty: the consequences that the coronavirus will leave on Mexican children