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What the Pandemic Did to Workouts  - web md

What the Pandemic Did to Workouts

By June, just over 60% of those surveyed said they were meeting World Health Organization's guidelines for weekly exercise, representing a nearly 8% jump from pre-pandemic routines. Investigators also found a more than 11% jump in the number of people who were actually exceeding that threshold.
web md - 6 days ago
Is Ablation Rx the Best First Choice for A-Fib?  - web md

Is Ablation Rx the Best First Choice for A-Fib?

A-fib patients who underwent ablation were half as likely to have an arrhythmia episode in the following year compared to patients on medication. And they were 61% less likely to have an episode that caused symptoms.
web md - 6 days ago
Poll: Many Will Attend Large Indoor Holiday Events  - web md

Poll: Many Will Attend Large Indoor Holiday Events

And while many plan to take precautions -- such as social distancing and asking those with COVID-19 symptoms not to attend holiday gatherings -- one-third of respondents said they won't ask guests to wear masks.
web md - 1 week ago
Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19? - harvard

Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19?

People with certain chronic conditions are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. These include a compromised immune system, which can happen for a number of reasons. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus take drugs that suppress the immune system, and new research examined the risks associated with such a situation. The post Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Coping With IBS - harvard

Coping With IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex and painful condition. Its cause is unknown and there is no cure, so treatment focuses on day-to-day management, but often people need additional assistance beyond medical care to cope with emotional side of living with IBS. The post Coping With IBS appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Lies Spread on Social Media Hamper Vaccinations  - web md

Lies Spread on Social Media Hamper Vaccinations

Every 1 point increase in the effort to discredit vaccines is linked to an average 2% drop in annual vaccine coverage around the world, and a 15% increase in negative tweets about vaccination, researchers found.
web md - 3 weeks ago
Supersreaders Spur Record New U.S. COVID Cases  - web md

Supersreaders Spur Record New U.S. COVID Cases

The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center reported that 88,521 new coronavirus cases were recorded Thursday in the United States -- the most in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
web md - 3 weeks ago
The Pandemic Diet: How to Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’  - web md

The Pandemic Diet: How to Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’

Another survey, done in August by RunRepeat, found that 41% of the 10,000+ respondents in the U.S. had gained more than 5 pounds since quarantine began -- and those are people visiting a website devoted to running.
web md - 3 weeks ago
Manage Risk to Stay Safe for COVID Thanksgiving  - web md

Manage Risk to Stay Safe for COVID Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will be another holiday impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the CDC and other experts recommending either significantly scaled-down, socially distanced activities or replacing the usual traditions with virtual ones to avoid exposure to the airborne illness.
web md - 3 weeks ago
Psoriasis Meds Don

Psoriasis Meds Don't Raise Risk of Severe COVID-19

Moderate-to-severe cases of psoriasis are treated with drugs that suppress the immune system. This analysis of the international PsoProtect registry found that more than 90% of psoriasis patients survive infection with the new coronavirus.
web md - 3 weeks ago
Making special education work for your child during COVID-19 - harvard

Making special education work for your child during COVID-19

The pandemic has forced parents everywhere to face problems that don’t have clear solutions regarding their children’s schooling. For parents of children with disabilities who receive special education, these concerns are even more challenging, and parental choices are even more difficult. The post Making special education work for your child during COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 4 weeks ago
Searching for Clues to COVID-19 Immunity  - web md

Searching for Clues to COVID-19 Immunity

Getting more specific answers about how the immune system responds to the virus that causes COVID-19, including whether recovery is likely permanent, is crucial not only to those who have recovered. These answers can help inform vaccine makers to make the most effective vaccines as well.
web md - 1 month ago
Hispanic Women More Prone to COVID in Pregnancy  - web md

Hispanic Women More Prone to COVID in Pregnancy

The researchers collected data on more than 900 Hispanic, Black, Asian and white patients. Among Hispanic women, nearly 11% tested positive for COVID-19, compared with 5.5% of non-Hispanic patients, the findings showed.
web md - 1 month ago
Mask Use by Americans Now Tops 90%, Poll Finds  - web md

Mask Use by Americans Now Tops 90%, Poll Finds

More than nine in 10 U.S. adults (93%) said they sometimes, often or always wear a mask or face covering when they leave their home and are unable to socially distance, including more than seven in 10 (72%) who said they always do so, the poll revealed.
web md - 1 month ago
Half of Americans Know Someone Impacted by COVID  - web md

Half of Americans Know Someone Impacted by COVID

The national survey was conducted by The Harris Poll between Oct. 8 and 12. It found that 55% of U.S. adults now say they know someone in their immediate or extended network of family and acquaintances who's been infected, hospitalized or passed away from COVID-19.
web md - 1 month ago
One Big Reason Women May Be Less Prone to COVID-19  - web md

One Big Reason Women May Be Less Prone to COVID-19

A survey conducted in eight countries in March and April found substantial gender differences both in numbers of people who considered COVID-19 to be a serious health crisis and who agreed with public policies to help fight the pandemic.
web md - 1 month ago
FDA Warns of Painkiller Risk During Pregnancy  - web md

FDA Warns of Painkiller Risk During Pregnancy

The FDA warned on Thursday that taking widely used painkillers called NSAIDS -- which include Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Celebrex -- at 20 weeks or later in a pregnancy could raise the risk of complications.
web md - 1 month ago
No Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Before Election  - web md

No Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Before Election

Even though Pfizer could have preliminary data about the vaccine's effectiveness by the end of October, gathering safety and manufacturing data would take until at least the third week of November, Dr. Albert Bourla said in the statement.
web md - 1 month ago
Heart Defects Don

Heart Defects Don't Increase Risk of Severe COVID

Among the 43 adults and 10 children with a congenital heart defect who were infected with COVID-19, 58% had complex congenital anatomy, 15% had a genetic syndrome, 11% had pulmonary hypertension and 17% were obese.
web md - 1 month ago
Is Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?  - web md

Is Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?

The nine-year study of more than 2,000 older adults -- average age 74 -- found that people with severe apathy (a lack of interest or concern) were 80% more likely to develop dementia during the study period than those with low apathy.
web md - 1 month ago
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harvard
Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19?

Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19?

harvard - 2 weeks ago

Soon after the coronavirus pandemic began, we learned that older adults and people with certain chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. One condition on that list is an immunocompromised state (a weakened immune system). This can be due to a number of conditions, including having had an organ transplant, having HIV, or taking medications that suppress the immune system.

If you have an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus (also called systemic lupus erythematosus), you may wonder how this affects your risk. Its thought that these conditions occur because the immune system misfires and attacks organs in the body. And many people with these disorders are treated with medications that suppress the immune system.

Two newly published studies examine this. While the results are not definitive, they do provide some reassurance. Most people recovered from COVID-19, and most of their prior treatments did not seem to worsen their infections.

Lupus and COVID-19

In the first study, researchers enrolled 226 people with lupus. After comparing those who had COVID-19 with those who did not, they found that

  • nearly 60% of those with COVID-19 and lupus became sick enough to be hospitalized, and 10% were admitted to the intensive care unit.
  • about 10% died.
  • risk factors for hospitalization were similar to those reported in people outside of this study who did not have lupus. For example, race (more hospital admissions among those who were Hispanic or nonwhite), other chronic diseases (including kidney failure, lung disease, and hypertension), and being overweight or obese were more common among those needing hospital admission.
  • steroid treatment for lupus was nearly two times higher among hospitalized patients (54%) compared with those who were not hospitalized (29%). However, this difference was not statistically significant.
  • treatment with other immune-suppressing medications taken for lupus (such as azathioprine or mycophenolate) was similar in both groups.

Inflammatory arthritis and COVID-19

The second study included 103 people with inflammatory arthritis (which includes rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions) who were also diagnosed with COVID-19. Some were hospitalized with severe disease, while others were treated as outpatients. Heres what the study found.

  • 26% of study subjects were hospitalized.
  • About 4% died.
  • Risk factors for hospital admission included being 65 or older, high blood pressure, and lung disease.
  • Steroid treatment for inflammatory arthritis was more common among those hospitalized (37%) than those treated as outpatients (about 4%).
  • Biologic therapy (such as etanercept or infliximab) did not appear to increase the risk of severe COVID-19. One other type of treatment JAK inhibitors, which include tofacitinib (Xeljanz) was more common among those requiring hospital admission. However, few patients were taking this medication.

Why these studies arent the last word

These studies only included patients with COVID-19 and either SLE or inflammatory arthritis. It wasnt possible to rigorously compare the study participants to people without lupus or arthritis. Also, these studies did not include large numbers of people with lupus or arthritis who tested positive for the virus, yet did not have symptoms of COVID-19 (asymptomatic infection). Nor did they confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19 in every suspected case. So, while this research offers some new information, the true impact of lupus or arthritis on people who develop COVID-19 hasnt yet been determined.

Finally, the lupus study was small: only 41 subjects had confirmed COVID-19. Although the findings on steroid treatment werent statistically significant, that might not have been true if the differences observed persisted in a larger study.

The bottom line

Public health experts often include people with autoimmune disease on the list of those who are more likely to have a bad outcome if they develop COVID-19. The relatively high rate of hospital admission for lupus patients with COVID-19 confirms an increased risk for severe disease. Other standard risk factors (such as high blood pressure or lung disease) apply, but steroid therapy may increase risk even further. Other studies have come to similar conclusions (see here and here).

There was some good news to emphasize in these trials: the survival rate among patients with lupus or inflammatory arthritis who develop COVID-19 was relatively high. Also, biologic therapy did not appear to worsen prognosis for the arthritis patients. And other immune suppressants did not worsen prognosis for those with lupus. And, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 among patients with inflammatory arthritis was similar to what has been reported for people without arthritis.

These findings add to what we are learning about COVID-19. Clearly, we need to learn more. For example, is there a dose of steroids to treat chronic illness that is so low that it does not increase the risk of a worse prognosis with COVID-19? Do certain medications (such as biologics) actually reduce the risk of severe COVID-19? Until we do know more, it remains particularly important for people with lupus and inflammatory arthritis especially those taking steroids to be especially vigilant about measures to avoid COVID-19.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

The post Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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