#COVID19 and Chronic Health Problems: The Liver Connection

#COVID19 and Chronic Health Problems: The Liver Connection

Here we are at the midpoint of 2020, and for the past several months we have been completely preoccupied and worried about coronavirus. Life as we know it has been put on hold, and every aspect of our life has been disrupted.

In listening to all the stories about COVID-19, and the concerns we have for those individuals with underlying medical problems, we miss one important point of this whole story. We never really stop and pay attention to what these underlying medical problems really are, or more importantly, how people develop them? These underlying chronic medical conditions include obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, heart disease, chronic liver disease, kidney disease, underlying cancer, diseases of the immune system, and other disorders of the blood. For the vast majority, these underlying co-morbidities could have been prevented.

As I mentioned in my book Eating Yourself Sick, without obesity, we do not have metabolic syndrome. Without obesity, type-2 diabetes would never really occur. Without obesity and hypertension, accelerated heart disease would be more of a rarity. Without obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, the development of kidney disease, and more importantly, kidney failure requiring dialysis, would be less prevalent.

I am passionate about good nutrition, proper eating habits, and the control of obesity. You see, fatty liver disease is the number one condition seen in our office.  It’s a direct result of obesity. People with obesity and metabolic syndrome that develop fatty liver, put themselves at risk for advanced liver disease, and cirrhosis. Liver cancer is more common, and the need for a liver transplant increases.  None of this is good.

So, as we continue to talk about COVID-19 and those individuals at highest risk for life-threatening complication, we have to look at ourselves and ask, am I at risk for multiple chronic medical disorders? If you’ve been told you have the early stages of type-2 diabetes, act on it now. If you’re overweight, see your physician, contact a Registered Dietitian, and start eating properly. If you have high blood pressure, work towards getting off the medications that you’re on, instead of being placed on a second or third drug to control hypertension. The time to address and reverse these underlying chronic medical conditions is now. It requires awareness, understanding, a desire to be well, and a good support system for yourself.


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