Since the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred on 23 January, Hong Kong saw new cases almost every day, and most recently, has reached 120 as of 10 March. It is very unfortunate that three patients have succumbed to this disease. Is there something we can learn from their death? Could it be that some people may be more vulnerable to this virus than others?
When we look into the information provided by the Center of Health Protection and Hospital Authority of the three fatal cases, we may be able to deduce some trends.
First deceased patient
Medical history: diabetes
Symptoms presented: The person suffered from muscle ache and fever on 29 January and was confirmed diagnosis of the virus on 31 January. The person was treated in the intensive care unit at the Princess Margaret Hospital, but unfortunately passed away on 4 February.
Second deceased patient
Medical history: diabetes and hypertension
Symptoms presented: The person showed symptoms on 2 February and was confirmed diagnosis of the virus on 14 February. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Princess Margaret Hospital on the same day. His condition continued to deteriorate and passed away 5 days later on 19 February.
Third deceased patient
Medical history: diabetes
Symptoms presented: The person showed symptoms on 28 February and was confirmed diagnosis of the virus on 1 March. She was sent to the Caritas Medical Centre for treatment and passed away 10 days later.
A common finding is that the three deceased patients all suffer from chronic illnesses
According to a recent article published in China CDC Weekly, in more than 40,000 COVID-19 patients, a quarter of them were found to have underlying chronic illnesses. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes can weaken a person’s immunity, making the body more vulnerable to infection. Chronic illness also hinders recovery and makes a person more prone to develop complications such as stroke and heart attack.
Better management of chronic diseases will minimise contraction of the virus
Chronic illnesses are very common in Hong Kong. Roughly 1 in 10 citizens are diabetic, and 1 in 4 adults have hypertension. Of course, High cholesterol is also quite a prevalent problem as Hongkongers are fond of eating out but not undergo sufficient regular exercise. This said, one does not need to be overly worried if these chronic illnesses are well-managed.
The management of chronic illness, apart from disciplined medicine intake and regular follow-ups with doctors, also involves making resolute changes in unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits. To this end, it pays to seek dietitian advice on nutritional intake. Furthermore, a tailor-made annual check-up for chronic patients to screen for organ functions and possible complications is also important
While it may be cumbersome for an average person to remember all these details, healthcare professionals now offer one-stop programs for chronic disease management. Some insurance companies also collaborate with these establishments to offer incentives including premium rebates if participants can achieve health targets in diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol control and the likes.
Chronic patients doesn’t have to over worry just because of they have chronic illnesses provided that the diseases are well-managed, personal hygiene properly observed, and they avoid going to crowded places.
Click here to know more about chronic disease management programmes: http://bit.ly/3atT3jh