Covid-19 is often more severe to the elderly and people who have health conditions like chronic lung diseases or heart diseases, asthma, diabetes or conditions that affect the immune system.
Have you ever asked yourself why people with underlying diseases are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus? The role of the immune system is to protect against diseases or other potentially damaging pathogens. However, It is reported that those who suffer from diabetes, lung disease and high blood pressure have more cellular doorways through which the virus can enter than the healthy people.
Our immune system usually weaken with age, whereas the elderly are more likely to have long-term health problems that can increase their risk for infection and serious diseases, hence making it difficult for people fighting off diseases.
According to a research done by the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Washington, researchers suggest that a drug used to treat some breast cancer patients could help block off the excess ACE2 receptors through which coronavirus enters, perhaps saving thousands from the infection. Also a strong immune system is required in this case to help stave off coronavirus infection. However, Covid-19 is believed to also affect a person’s airway and lungs hence those organs work together in order to provide the body with oxygen. Therefore, when the lungs are overburdened with an infection, the heart has to work harder which exacerbates the challenges of people already living with heart diseases.
Also people suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes are more likely to face an increased risk of getting really sick with Covid-19, as both cause a blood sugar spike. This is because of the high level of inflammation discovered in their bodies hence weakening the immune system and making it difficult for those already affected in fighting the virus.
With an increased risk of coronavirus infection due to underlying health conditions, the researchers believe that key to the mysterious array of symptoms seems to be the ACE2 receptor which is a critical protein on the surface of cells inside our bodies that acts like processor for other proteins and hormones in a series of reactions that helps control blood pressure.
However, the ACE2 receptor also fits the spike protein on the coronavirus’s surface like a glove, giving the virus an entry point into human cells thus explaining why the virus does such devastating damage to the organs.