Abdominal Obesity and Swine Flu Complications

by Dr. S on November 15th, 2009

Obese individuals (BMI 30 or higher) are in a state of mild "cytokine storm" making them vulnerable to influenza complications and death. Cytokines are inflammatory chemicals like tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 6. They are secreted by fat cells, and in particular, central (intra-abdominal) fat cells. Central obesity can be determined by waist measurement, and females with 35 inches or greater and males 40 inches or greater are at increased risk.

A CDC report dated July 17, 2009, noted that of ten intensive care patients hospitalized (University of Michigan Health Center) for H1N1 influenza, nine were obese including seven who were severely obese (BMI 40 or higher). Three of these patients died due to complications. The report noted that "Clinicians should be aware of the potential for severe complications of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, particularly in extremely obese patients."

Also, a study conducted by Beck out of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill noted that obese mice had a 40% mortality when exposed to H1N1 influenza as opposed to 4% mortality in non-obese mice.

Individuals who fall within the above noted criteria should continue their quest to lose body fat, especially around the midsection, through healthy lifestyle efforts and speak to their doctors about safeguard measures prior to the upcoming flu season.

Yours for better health

Dr. Sardone

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Obesity, swine flu, complications, waist circumference


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