A large-scale study, which has looked at the millions of health records of people in the US, has found that people who are dealing with a mental condition called dementia are at a greater risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes COVID19. Experts who have done the study have said that people who are suffering from dementia are at greater risk of hospitalization and even death due to the disease as compared to people who do not have such a condition. The risk has not been explained by the common traits of people who deal with dementia that are known risk factors for COVID19 such as old age, obesity, asthma, diabetes, heart issues, living in a nursing home. After experts have adjusted for these factors, people with dementia have still been twice as like to contract COVID19 as of late last summer.
A professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of California, Dr. Kristine Yaffe has said that there is something attached to dementia, which makes people susceptible to COVID19. Experts have said that black people who are dealing with dementia are at three times higher risk of contracting the virus as compared to white people. The study has confirmed that people of color have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic. The authors of the study have said that health officials need to protect people who are suffering from dementia and specifically those who are black. The findings of the study have been released in the journal called Alzheimer’s Dementia. The chief science officer of the journal, Maria Carrillo has said that the COVID19 pandemic has shown that health officials need to address these disparities at the earliest possible. This study has been done by experts from Case Western Reserve University.
They have looked at the health data of 61.9 million people in the US who have been in the age range of 18 years and above. The health data has been collected by the IBM Watson Health Explorys from 317000 health care providers and 360 hospitals across all 50 states in the US. The authors of the study have said that the data has represented a fifth of the US population. Earlier experts have speculated that people with dementia might be more vulnerable to COVID19. With the new study, experts have been able to establish a potential link between dementia and the risk of COVID19. As per the study, around 810 out of 15770 patients who have been diagnosed with COVID19 have been found to have dementia. After adjusting for demographic factors like age, sex, and race, experts have found that people with dementia are at more than three times greater risk of contracting the virus.
Experts have adjusted for COVID19 specific factors and found that people who have been suffering from dementia are still at two times higher risk of getting the disease. The authors of the study have said that cognitive and physiological factors as well are the reasons for this susceptibility to COVID19. The senior author of the study, Dr. Rong Xu has said that people who suffer from dementia need people around them to practice safety measures like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Such people are cognitively challenged. Dr. Yaffe has said that there might be a frailty element to people who are diagnosed with dementia along with lack of mobility and muscle tone, which can affect their resilience to diseases. Experts have said that the COVID19 has been linked to an inflammatory response that affects the blood vessels and other parts of the circulatory system.
Many people who are diagnosed with dementia have a vascular impairment, which might be shot up by COVID19. The authors of the study have divided the patients by the forms of dementia listed in the electronic health data. They have seen that people who have been diagnosed with vascular dementia have been at a higher risk of contracting COVID19 as compared to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Experts have said that people with dementia are at a 2.6 times higher risk of being hospitalized due to COVID19 during the first six months of the pandemic. The study has shown that people with dementia are at 4.4 times higher risk of dying due to viral infection. People of color with dementia and COVID19 are more likely to be admitted to the hospital as compared to the white population, said the experts.
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