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Underlying conditions major problem for San Antonio COVID-19 patients

Underlying conditions major problem for San Antonio COVID-19 patients (SBG San Antonio)
Underlying conditions major problem for San Antonio COVID-19 patients (SBG San Antonio)
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Bexar county health experts are telling us the number of Covid deaths in San Antonio compared to the number of cases that the city are higher than other major cities in Texas.

That could be because more of us have pre-existing conditions than we think.

Life as a double lung transplant survivor has changed for Graciela Aldaco.

She was cautious in her day-to-day life before the threat of Covid, but now is more vigilant.

"When other people say, 'let’s go get a hamburger, let’s go do this,' we’re still looking at, 'where are we going, how many people are going, is it a possibility of doing it outside.'"

That's because she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease, in 2014.

The Centers for Disease Control consider the following to be a few "underlying medical conditions" or "pre-exisiting conditions" that can put you at risk for more severe covid complications: asthma, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese and pulmonary fibrosis, among others.

But the stark truth is more of us are at risk than we think.

"It’s safe to say that most people have a pre-existing condition when you think about obesity, diabetes, being a smoker, high blood pressure, I mean that’s the majority of older people and a lot of younger people," says San Antonio Metro Health director Junda Woo.

According to San Antonio Metro Health, in Bexar county alone seven percent of those surveyed have asthma, 34% have hypertension, 11% have diabetes, 11.1% are smokers and more than 70% are considered overweight or obese.

"Obesity, diabetes, hypertension and individuals that are older over 65, we know in those conditions that the immune system just does not work as well," says Dr. Jan Patterson with UT Health San Antonio.

Graciela's message: follow the health officials' guidelines.

If not to protect yourself, to protect others.

"You may feel very strongly that you can survive it and maybe you can, but there’s some of us that may not," she says. "And those are the ones that you have to worry about."

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According to health experts at Metro Health, 70% of covid hospitalizations in San Antonio are people with underlying conditions; the most common is diabetes.

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