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Unhealthy Lungs Can Lead To Severe Complications From COVID-19

Everyone is susceptible to a COVID-19 infection, but to those living with unhealthy lungs, the virus can be even more harmful. That’s according to a study of more than 1,000 hospitalized patients in China which found that those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more than twice as likely to develop severe symptoms from COVID-19. Half of those patients died from the virus or had to be admitted to an intensive care unit and/or put on a ventilator.

“If you add another injury on a system which is already behind, that will put that system in a very dire condition,” says Rabih Bechara, MD, a pulmonologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

Healthy lungs and airways are lined with cilia – small hairs that push phlegm and other secretions out of the lungs and into the throat. But for those living with chronic lung conditions, the cilia are damaged and destroyed, allowing secretions to pile up and constrict airways. Damaged cilia also prevent the lungs from clearing out viral infections such as COVID-19.

“These people tend to collect organisms in their lungs that healthy people clear with a good cough,” explains Jill Ohar, MD, a pulmonologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

Some people may have COPD and not even know it. Someone over the age of 40 with a history of smoking and who gets winded after a 10-minute walk could be in the early stages of COPD.

Consequently, it is important to be hyper vigilant and take precautions to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those precautions are maintaining social distance, limiting trips to the store or getting your groceries delivered, and seeing physicians via phone or video rather than going into the office.

Wear a facemask when leaving the house. And, if you do get sick, make sure you have enough medication for at least two weeks.

Read the full article here from Health Central.