Obesity and Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The daily life of the entire humanity could be characterized as a “journey into uncharted waters” during the recent months. The new Coronavirus (Covid-19) has sounded the alarm in all over the planet, causing concern in the global scientific community. The rapid spread of the virus, in combination with the inadequacy of scientific data regarding its characteristics and effects, have created a new everyday life, with certain groups of people (vulnerable groups / high-risk groups) being the focus of research.


A few words about Obesity

Obesity is the excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat or adipose tissue in the body. It is a chronic disease, currently recognized as the triggering agent for the development of the metabolic syndrome. It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of many other diseases and health problems. It is characterized by chronic inflammation and a series of accompanying diseases, which are called co-morbidities and concern almost all human organs and systems.


Here, we refer indicatively only a few of the serious diseases that are causally related to obesity:

  • Predisposition to respiratory infections
  • Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases
  • Infertility and problems in pregnancy
  • Problems of the gastrointestinal system

There are several methods of assessing obesity. The one that is used most often and is accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) is the method that uses the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI calculation formula is quite simple, since it only uses the patient’s height and body weight.


Calculation Formula Body Mass Index (BMI) Obesity Classification



BMI < 18 Underweight
18.1 < BMI < 24.9 Normal Body Weight
25 < ΒΜΙ < 29.9 Overweight
30 < ΒΜΙ < 34.9 Class 1 Obesity
35 < BM I< 39.9 Class 2 Obesity
BMI > 40 Class 3 Obesity


How is obesity related to severe illness from coronavirus (COVID 19)?

It is known that obesity is an independent risk factor for serious illness from several viruses, including the new coronavirus (COVID 19). The health problems that obese patients face, classify them in the recognized high-risk groups. It has been shown that obese patients who are infected with Covid-19 face a significantly higher risk of respiratory failure, ICU admission and death, compared to normal weight patients. However, it is not only co-morbidities that classify obese patients in the high-risk groups.


Obesity and transmission of Covid-19

Epidemiological data show that obese patients are up to 80% more likely to get sick with coronavirus. This is explained by the fact that excess body fat creates a chronic inflammation, which burdens the body’s immune system.

However, apart from the fact that obese patients are more easily infected by the virus, factors that associate them to a higher rate of its transmission are also examined.


Let’s be more specific:

It is a fact that obese people are affected by the most resistant strains of the virus.

The higher a patient’s BMI is, more increased its viral load seems to be, in case of infection with the coronavirus. Every exhalation, sneeze or cough involves the excretion of more infected droplets, therefore a higher chance of transmitting the virus to other people.

The more serious the illness is, the more increased is the delay in eliminating the virus from the body. So, in effect, the obese patients, who are more seriously ill, keep the virus in their body for a longer period of time, something that increases the possibility of its transmission to other people.


Obesity Management and Treatment

The need to deal with obesity as a social phenomenon but also on an individual level is greater than ever. Deciding to change your eating habits and adopting a physical activity program is the first step in a much longer journey towards a normal lifestyle.

The obesity as a disease should be treated with the appropriate medical guidance. Conservative measures and personal effort often prove ineffective, as they present high rates of relapse.

The surgical treatment of obesity is the method with the highest success rate. The variety of surgical options and the use of modern techniques enable the safe treatment of each case according to the patient’s special characteristics.


The surgical options for obesity treatment include:

  • Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass) (RYGP)
  • Mini Gastric Bypass
  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery (Gastrectomy or Sleeve Gastrectomy)
  • Gastric Fold Surgery
  • Billopancreatic Diversion (BPD)

The surgical Clinic “Surgishape” and the General Surgeon and CEO of the Clinic Dr. Themistoklis Galanakis collaborate with leading surgeons of our country. Our Clinic treats  cases covering the entire spectrum of General, Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, including the Metabolic – Bariatric Surgery (Weight Loss Surgery).

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