General Health & COVID-19

In a world where there seems to be heightened anxiety and panic, we must focus on what we can control.

There is emerging information regarding risk factors – some non-modifiable such as age, ethnicity and male gender. However, in terms of modifiable risk factors, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and lung disease infer an increased risk.

The anxiety around coronavirus is partly due to the uncertainty. Hand washing and maintaining distance from those with flu like symptoms in addition to wider social distancing measures will help reduce infection rates. In addition, although the evidence about wearing masks is not conclusive there appears to be some benefit and many countries have adopted rules for wearing masks in public. 

But there’s more we can all do to get our immune systems primed to give us the best chance of fighting infections and a sense of some control. In general: 

– getting enough sleep (there are many entrepreneurs that live on 4 hours sleep, which may not cause too much of an issue in the short term but it’s not a good sustainable long term plan!)

–  moderate exercise for approximately 20 mins most days (over exercising can have a negative impact)

– Eating well (whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables)

– Avoiding excessive alcohol

– Avoiding smoking – although there are some reports that nicotine may have a protective effect, the other chemicals present in cigarettes damage the lungs and put you at risk of a more severe infection.

On a more personal level for those with other health conditions it’s important to optimise the numbers. A preventative and proactive approach to healthcare is vital. 

Focus on getting parameters such as HbA1c (average sugar levels), cholesterol, blood pressure and weight to target.
This can be done through a combination of lifestyle measures and / or medication. 
Optimising medications for other conditions such as asthma and COPD are also important.

There’s not enough evidence yet to say that this will translate in fewer complications / deaths, however it will improve overall health and logically that should lead to fewer complications.