Study: Obesity May Increase Risk of Complications, Death From Swine Flu

July 11, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A new study just published by the Centers for Disease Control, raises alarming implications concerning the increased risks of severe complications and even death, associated with obese people who become infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus.

The findings from this study suggests that doctors should treat obese patients more aggressively, by doubling the dose of Tamiflu to prevent severe, life threatening complications from the Swine Flu.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical Center studied 10 patients admitted to the hospital with severe complications from the swine flu. Nine out of the 10 patients were obese, while seven of the patients were extremely obese with a Body Mass Index greater than 40.

All 10 of the patients developed severe acute respiratory distress syndrome from the swine flu and were placed on ventilators. Nine of the patients experienced multiple organ failure, including six with kidney failure.

The researchers began their study of the 10 patients after noticing most of the patients were obese. The researchers were also surprised to find that five of the patients had developed blood clots in their lungs, which is not a common complication from seasonal flu.

Three of the patients have since died and none have recovered from their complications. The researchers have not previously found a link between seasonal flu complications and obesity, leading the researchers to speculate that obesity may pose a unique set of risk factors for patients with swine flu

“The high prevalence of obesity in this case series is striking,” according to the CDC report.

Meanwhile, the H1N1 swine flu continues to spread, with an increase in infections expected during the fall.

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