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Heart disease main underlying condition in COVID-19 deaths

by Assoicated Press
May 2, 2020

SALEM, Ore. (AP) Oregon health officials have reported that most, if not all, the roughly 100 people who died in the state from the coronavirus had underlying health conditions. Now they are reporting what those conditions were, with cardiovascular disease topping the list.

Almost 60% of those who died had heart disease as an underlying condition, the Oregon Health Authority reported late Tuesday, the first time the agency drilled down on the data in its weekly report.

If a person had smoked before and quit, that was also listed as an underlying condition, and 25% of those who died were in that category. However, only 1.4% of those who died were current smokers.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those at high risk of being severely ill from COVID-19 include people over 65, those living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and those with underlying medical conditions, including chronic lung disease or serious heart conditions.

In Oregon, the second-highest underlying factor in fatalities was neurological or neurodevelopmental issues. Neurological disorders include epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and cerebrovascular diseases including stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

A person who died may have had more than one underlying condition. Other conditions listed were diabetes, 33%; lung disease, 29%; renal disease, 25%; and 18% with compromised immune systems.

Around half of the confirmed deaths in Oregon of the coronavirus were people 80 or older. One-quarter were 70-79.

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