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The Swine Flu May Love Obese Folks Best

Greetings …
The Swine Flu may love us to death.

It seems that a study for one thing led to a surprising discovery directly affecting the obese and the Swine Flu and I care because after quitting a forty-year smoking habit, I grew eligible to join the lofty, spread out and huge Tubby Club and have a personal health interest in this study.

“…the cases of 10 patients at a Michigan hospital … were so ill they had to be put on ventilators.
Three died. Nine of the 10 were obese, seven were severely obese, including two of the three who died”
(EFFORTS Newsletter 13 Autumn 2009)

I have been waiting for this news to become public beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weekly report, but if it has, I’ve missed it.

In the meantime, the Swine Flu is here, real and we tub’ettes need to discuss these findings with our doctor and/or call the Health Department.

The following is taken directly from the autumn 2009 EFFORTS newsletter, verbatim. Thanks JJ and EFFORTS.
People who are obese but otherwise healthy may be at
special risk of severe complications and death from the new
H1N1 swine flu virus, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

They described the cases of 10 patients at a Michigan
hospital who were so ill they had to be put on ventilators.
EFFORTS Newsletter 13 Autumn 2009
Three died. Nine of the 10 were obese, seven were severely
obese, including two of the three who died.

The study, published in advance in the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention’s weekly report on death and disease,
also suggests doctors can safely double the usual dose of
oseltamivir, Roche AG’s antiviral drug sold under the Tamiflu
brand name.

“What this suggests is that there can be severe complications
associated with this virus infection, especially in severely obese
patients,” said CDC virus expert Dr. Tim Uyeki. “And five of
these patients had … evidence of blood clots in the lungs. This
has not been previously known to occur in patients with severe
influenza virus infections,” Uyeki said in a telephone interview.

Dr. Lena Napolitano of the University of Michigan Medical
Center and colleagues studied the cases of 10 patients admitted
to the university’s intensive care unit with severe acute
respiratory distress syndrome caused by infection with H1N1.

“Of the 10 patients, nine were obese (body mass index more
than 30), including seven who were extremely obese (BMI more
than 40),” they wrote in their report.

Their study was not
designed to see if obesity or anything else poses a special risk
factor for flu. But the researchers were surprised to see that
seven of the 10 patients were extremely obese.

Nine had multiple organ failure, which can be seen in
influenza, but five had blood clots in the lungs, and six had
kidney failure.
None has fully recovered, the researchers said.

The H1N1 swine flu virus first emerged in Mexico in March
and was spreading out of control in the United States by the time
it was identified at the end of April. The World Health
Organization declared a pandemic in June.

While it is causing moderate illness, all influenza viruses can
be deadly and this one is no exception. It has killed close to 500
people globally, more than 200 in the United States alone.

However, the new virus has a slightly different pattern from
seasonal flu — it spreads in the summer months, attacks young
adults and older children, and may affect the body slightly

As with H5N1 avian influenza, which only rarely attacks
people, patients seem to survive better if they get Tamiflu for
longer than the usual five-day treatment course, Uyeki said. “We
don’t know if it is necessary for a higher dose of the drug to be
given to patients who are obese,” he said.

“The high prevalence of obesity in this case series is
striking,” the CDC’s commentary accompany the report reads.
“Whether obesity is an independent risk factor for severe
complications of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is
unknown. Obesity has not been identified previously as a risk
factor for severe complications of seasonal influenza.”

Talk to you later… Sharon O’Hara

7 thoughts on “The Swine Flu May Love Obese Folks Best

  1. Last week we launched the Port Orchard Fit City Challenge/End Hunger Initiative. Our goal is to address hunger in our community while encouraging healthy weight loss. For every pound of weight that individuals lose for the challenge (October 1st through November 14th) we encourage them to donate a pound of food to the local food bank or a favorite hunger relief organization.

    Obesity is a serious issue. 66% of all Americans are obese. The worldwide statistics are striking: 963 Million people are chronically hungry while 1 B are overweight. Obesity is directly implicated in numerous health concerns – from heart disease to diabetes to some forms of cancer.

    If I were Barack Obama, I would be calling all Americans to make changes in their lives. I would let the country know that we can’t afford to live like this anymore.

    Having obesity put you at a risk for the Swine Flu is just one more reason to work on losing weight and getting fit.

    You can sign up at several locations around town to join the challenge – Sugardaddy’s Salon; Bayview Java & Deli, Westcoast Fitness, Max & Olympic Fitness Clubs, Wisteria Lane, the Port Orchard City Hall and more.

    Join us in making self-care a priority.

    Mary Colborn

  2. Commendable, Mary, thanks for posting.

    My focus is health and I set out a challenge in the blog post, “Unhealthy Excess Fat Is Worth $1,298…. “Women100 pounds or more overweight are welcome to join in the weight loss quest to the healthiest we can be through good nutrition, fewer calories and exercise.

    I will meet with anyone interested, weekly or whatever works to make the goal for better health AND for the challenge that the first of us to lose the 100 pounds and keep it off for six months will win $1,295.”

    (I should add that we turned the living room into a gym – for a far better purpose)

    I posted the offer on Facebook and someone else donated $300. to the cause!

    However, no one took me up on the challenge and so, I’ll adjust it to say that I will pledge the $1,298. using the same conditions but payable to Harrison Medical Center to help pay for free spirometry testing to the public.

    If Harrison is unable to accept and offer the spirometry testing to the public, then I will give it to any qualified medical clinic here in Kitsap County for the same purpose. Just step up to the plate, please.

    It ‘is’ irony that we have starving people in this world and obese at the same time. Both are highly visible conditions.

    Drug addiction is not so visible as obesity, nor alcoholism yet both cost taxpayers immensely in health care costs. Neither carries the stigma that obesity carries. I know…because I used to be one of those judgmental persons …

    As Mary stated so well, “Join us in making self-care a priority.”

    Sharon O’Hara

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