Each country has had a different experience with COVID-19. While it is easy to get wrapped up in the politics or the fear. It is more important to understand what you need to know to make strong decisions for yourselves or loved ones.
Current health conditions and vulnerability
Most of our knowledge is coming from researchers combing through medical records for data. In China, those who died from COVID-19 had some specific issues in common. In layman’s terms it would be inflammation and organ systems that were already in failure or weakened and easy to fail. This means anyone with cardiovascular disease is susceptible. It can include previous heart attacks, vascular obstructions like blood clots, history of stroke, etc. In a nation like the U.S. where we eat a lot of processed foods and saturated fats, this could be incredibly impactful. Another commonality was patients whom already had an issue with an organ. This could be severe asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, etc. When one organ is weak, the others are trying their best to support the whole of the body. Since COVID-19 attacks the lungs so efficiently, if they are already a weak point, it takes a lot of medical support to survive. For a patient with congestive heart failure, their lungs are already at risk as the heart is forcing blood backward into the lung increasing its internal blood pressure. Once the lungs go down, there is a cascade effect and one after the other organs begin to suffer and shut down. These health complications, the incredible amount of smog and smoking in China, contribute to their numbers. Also, these conditions are more common in the elderly, explaining why it seemed to be a problem for older patients.
The other information we are learning as COVID-19 has ravaged Italy is type O blood seems more resistant (most common blood type in the Chinese population) and Type A seems least resistant. The “seems” is because there may be some conflicting causes. It may be the high rate of vaping in Italy that has shown an increased susceptibility to contraction and decimation by the disease. If it is blood type, then Europe and the U.S. will have some pretty large numbers. Vaping and smoking are fairly common in the U.S., as well as smoggy, city conditions. These overlapping factors could also impact our numbers. Inner city neighborhoods, such as Humboldt Park, Chicago, could have some of the highest numbers as they have 7 times more asthma than the nation.
If you have an organ that already needs specific medical support, such as kidney disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, heart failure, COPD, at-risk for stroke, blood clots, or other factors which thicken the blood, you need to be vigilant with all stay-at-home orders. We are learning from this disease after it happens. You might be safe, but you may not.
How to support your health
All the same rules apply, even when you are at home.
Movement and exercise keep a healthy body. You can go for walks if you live in open space areas or you can do a walk a home program that involves high knee lifts. You can build muscles with your own body weight through push-ups/planks or use filled water bottles as handweights. There are many online exercise programs and some still on tv (PBS).
Eat healthy. While we all have different needs, cooked vegetables, soups, and stews are deeply nourishing. Avoid large amounts of fats and sugars. Use healthy fats which include nuts, olive oils, nut oils, avocados, and olives in small amounts. Moderate amounts of grains, beans or lentils, and proteins. If you know a food tends to make you congested, avoid it currently. The same can be said for other allergens. Let’s not tax your system. In New Mexico, it is the windy, every breeding tree is spitting pollen season. For those with allergic asthma, it can be a very inflammatory issue. Be cautious.
Hydrate, sleep and create a regular routine. The immune system is strongest when the body has all its needs met. Consistent nightly sleep can be a great boon to the immune system.
Support your emotions. If you are an extrovert, call friends, participate in online groups, create Netflix watch parties, utilizing the access we have via electronics. It isn’t the same, but it can be important to socialize. Utilize practices such as meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi and qi gong to find a restorative energy. Betterhelp.com is a therapy service that is done through online options. If you need help managing your current anxieties, fears, etc., try this online format.
You are not alone. You are a space of safety and love. You also have to the ability to discern. Please do.