Young women with co-morbidities like chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes, and hypertension had a higher risk of death due to Covid-19 than males during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, according to a study by a team of researchers from Delhi-based Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
The study highlights how co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension weaken the immune system, making it incapable to fight the virus. It was conducted on 2,586 Covid-19 patients who were admitted to the hospital from April 8 to October 4, 2020.
The patients were divided into two categories: those aged between 18-59 years; and those above 60 years of age. The team observed the association of diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, and CKD on the prognosis and mortality of Covid infected hospitalised patients. The conditions have been, from the beginning of the pandemic, associated with the progression of Covid disease to the severity and higher mortality risk. These have also been linked with prolonging the recovery period.
The findings, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, showed that patients with CKD were the most prone to severity as well as mortality, followed by high blood pressure and diabetes. Compared to the elderly patients with these comorbidities, the severity of Covid infection, as well as mortality, was found to be much higher in younger patients. Many studies have reported males to be at higher risk of infection than females.
In this study, although the number of Covid admitted male patients (69.6 percent) was more than twice the number of females (30.4 percent), the risk of severity of infection and mortality was found to be higher amongst the females.
This is even after having the same comorbid conditions, except for the hypertensive patients, the researchers said.
According to Dr Rashmi Rana, author and consultant, Department of Research at the hospital, “our study also found that females were relatively at higher risk of mortality as compared to males having same comorbid conditions except for hypertension patients.”
Our study showed the risk of the severity of Covid-19 infection in younger patients with underlying comorbidities were found to be relatively at higher risk of severity of disease as well as mortality compared to elderly patients with similar underlying conditions, added Dr Vivek Ranjan, co-author, and Chairperson at the hospital's Department of Blood Transfusion.
Out of the 2,586 patients, 779 (30.1 percent) needed ICU admission, whereas 1,807 (69.9 percent) did not require it. About 2,269 (87.7 percent) recovered, while 317 (12.3 percent) patients died.
"On comparing the impact of multiple comorbidities with the severity of Covid-19 infection, it was found that the presence of comorbidity poses a greater risk of ICU admission.
As the number of comorbidities increases, the risk of severity of Covid19 infection also increases significantly," said Dr D.S. Rana, co-author and Chairperson, Department of Renal Sciences.