COVID-19 is a new disease. At the moment, there is limited data and information regarding the effect of having pre-existing medical conditions and whether they increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
According to CDC, recent data shows that individuals of any age with the following pre-existing conditions have an increased risk of severe COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (Body Mass Index of 30 or higher)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
As we gain more information about COVID-19, there may be other pre-existing medical conditions that increase the risk of people experiencing severe symptoms upon catching COVID-19.
Furthermore, people with the following medical conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from 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
- use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines
- neurologic conditions, such as dementia
- liver disease
- pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
The revisions in recent data also indicate that the listed underlying medical conditions in children increases risk of getting severe illness from COVID-19.
Younger people with pre-existing medical conditions are shown to be at higher risk of getting severe symptoms from COVID-19 than younger people who have no pre-existing medical conditions. Children who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or have congenital heart disease might be at higher risk of getting severe illness from COVID-19.
If you have an underlying medical condition that is included in these lists, this is not meant to cause you to panic. You are encouraged to seek more information from your healthcare provider in terms of the level of risk posed by your pre-existing conditions, so that you can make informed decisions on protecting yourself from COVID-19.
Your healthcare provider, in turn, is informed by these studies from the CDC and other reputable agencies in order to provide the best possible care for you as a patient.