The coronavirus, covid19, has affected each of us in so many ways since the pandemic hit in early 2020. Thankfully life this Summer is slowly returning to a new normal but Covid19 is still out there.
The pandemic is simply not going to abruptly finish just because we can meet up with our families and friends again.
However, there is hope….
Who is most at risk from Covid19
Although everyone is at risk from the coronavirus, the emerging data for specific demographics paints a stark picture:
Evidence seen by SAGE suggests obese patients are 43 per cent more likely to die from the coronavirus
New data from NHS England shows, of the 23,804 deaths recorded, 7,466 (31.3%) who died from coronavirus had type 2 diabetes
Over 70% of the deaths from the virus were men
There is now strong evidence emerging that indicates black men and women are four times more likely to die from Covid19 than their white counterparts.
Individuals from BAME groups are, as a whole, especially at risk.
Why is the coronavirus evidence for BAME groups so important?
The evidence behind the risk to BAME groups is urgently being investigated and we are all eager to understand why the colour of skin and ethnic background increases the risk of Covid19 so much.
In our pivotal capacity tackling obesity through healthcare professionals we have long since discussed the elevated health risks associated with excess weight in BAME communities. For example, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is dramatically higher for BAME individuals at a much lower BMI than for white populations, eg the risk for black cohorts at a BMI of 26 is the same at a BMI of 30 for white cohorts (see diagram below).
There is some logic therefore to suggest Covid19 could be negatively affecting a much larger BAME population than an equivalent white population simply from the outcomes of excess weight.
Time will tell ultimately, but there is one thing we can all do to mitigate against the severe effects of Covid19 infection...
Take obesity seriously and lose excess weight.
Pharmacy holds the key to reducing the risk and outcomes of Covid19
Pharmacy has remained the most accessible and available group of healthcare professionals throughout the pandemic.
Offering regular updates on the progression of Covid19 advice, and the measures needed to reduce its transmission, have been at the heart of all pharmacy advice since the start of 2020.
The mounting evidence, especially in the BAME population, is making it critical for weight loss support to be added to this proactive advice pharmacy delivers daily.
But time is of the essence…
There is little value in taking weight loss slowly and steadily.
The pandemic is not going anywhere soon. It is vital to lose the excess weight NOW to protect as many lives as possible.
Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCDs) have long since been shown to offer safe and effective weight loss with impressively rapid results. A quick reduction in obesity, a proven indicator for Covid19 severity, could have a profoundly positive effect on an individual level and on lessening the burden on our precious NHS.
There is now considerable scientific recognition, including by the NHS, of VLCDs providing remission of type 2 diabetes. Very low calorie, nutritionally complete formula foods reduce blood sugar extremely rapidly to pre-diabetes levels long before significant weight loss occurs.
The mainstay of type 2 diabetes control is to medicate, costing the NHS over £11 billion a year (https://www.diabetes.co.uk/cost-of-diabetes.html).
The current pandemic data is demonstrating the continual suppression blood glucose levels by hypoglycaemics is unlikely to confer protection against Covid19.
Remission of type 2 diabetes through rapid weight loss, rather than medicated suppression, may well hold the key to reducing Covid19 mortality in type 2 diabetes.
The male population needs to take particular interest in the Covid19 data since they constitute 70% of all deaths. Being an obese, type 2 diabetic, BAME male has always carried maximum health risks. Covid19 has sent these risks even higher.
Pharmacy holds a key strategy to tackle the effects of Covid19
Lockdown has not been kind to many who have apparently indulged in excessive eating and drinking. Traditional measures to combat poor lifestyles, eating less and exercising more, has a short lifespan of a matter of weeks at best.
The outlook for the mainstay of weight loss support for most is miserable. It is unlikely those involved, both leaders and dieters, will be willing to risk being part of slimming clubs or even diet programmes in private homes.
To make matters worse, the medical community is generally far too focused on the virus to pay much attention to weight issues.
Therefore, the opportunity to mitigate health risks through weight loss at your local pharmacy shouldn’t be ignored.
Pharmacy has long recognised the value of the Lipotrim VLCD in assisting their community’s health through safe and effective weight management. The current pandemic has enhanced the role of pharmacy. Their ability to offer support, even during these challenging times, is testament to their professionalism.
Start taking excess weight seriously now, as restrictions are being lifted. Pharmacy can arguably offer the possibility of lifesaving Covid19 help.