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Obesity Increases The Risk of Severe COVID-19 Complications


  • Research suggests that being obese can put you at risk for more serious COVID-19 complications.
  • The COVID-19 Delta variant is leading to new, more serious infections, making weight loss more important than ever to those who are overweight or obese.
  • Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are the best way to lose weight.
  • If lifestyle changes haven’t worked for you, talk to your doctor to learn if Xenical is right for your weight loss journey.


The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t seem to be showing signs of slowing down. The latest mutation, the Delta variant, is rapidly infecting and hospitalizing people across the world. In the United States alone, Delta is responsible for more than 75% of new COVID-19 infections.

While anyone can catch COVID, if you’re overweight or obese, you may be at higher risk for serious complications of the virus.

Individuals who are obese belong to one of several groups that researchers have found may be at greater risk for serious COVID-19 complications than others. The other groups include:

  • Older adults.
  • People with heart problems.
  • People with kidney disease.
  • People with weakened immune systems.

The Link Between Obesity and COVID-19 Complications

Person putting eye glasses on.

A 2020 study published in Clinical Medicine further clarified the greater risk that obesity poses for serious complications of respiratory viral infections like COVID-19.

When you are obese, you have less “respiratory system compliance” than people who are not obese, meaning your lungs do not expand fully. In other words, you’re not able to get full, deep breaths. That’s because there is more fat pressing against the walls of your chest, which limits how far your lungs can expand.

People who are obese have more receptors in their fat that the COVID-19 virus likes to attach to, making them potentially more likely to get the infection. What’s more, the virus may hang out and multiply where excess fat is stored. When the virus eventually spreads through the body, it may lead to more severe reactions.

Finally, being obese is also associated with other health problems like heart issues and having high blood pressure, which are also linked to more serious COVID-19 complications.

As communities continue to battle this pandemic, it is important to know how to protect yourself from severe complications.

What Are The COVID-19 Complications?

Man holding his hand over his heart appearing in pain.

Having COVID-19 is no walk in the park.

The “mild” symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Loss of taste and smell

Most of these symptoms look like what you’d experience when you have a cold of the flu, but the difference is how long they last. With COVID-19, these symptoms can last for months.

Even if you have a mild case of COVID-19, you can still have long-term impacts. For instance, some patients who recover from COVID-19 have permanent lung damage called post-COVID fibrosis.

Other serious COVID-19 complications include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Organ failure
  • Heart problems
  • Blood clots
  • Bacterial infection

COVID Is Down but Not Out

Sadly, in the months since the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions into lockdown, more than 600,000 Americans have died from the virus. The good news is that several vaccines are now available to protect people against the virus.

The bad news is that the virus is already mutating, leading to more-contagious strains like the Delta variant.

With states lifting lockdowns and mask requirements, travel increasing, and schools opening back up, opportunities are once again increasing to contract the virus.

If, like many Americans, you have let your guard down against COVID-19 infection, read on for a refresher on what to look for and how to protect yourself against COVID/Delta.

Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

You can get COVID-19 when you come in contact with droplets spread by an infected person. This means that you can get the virus when you’re in close spaces with someone who has the virus because they spread these droplets just by breathing.

You can also get it by being around an infected person who is coughing or sneezing or by touching a surface with droplets and then touching your face.

COVID-19 is easily spread, and Delta appears to be even more contagious, especially if you are around unvaccinated people who don’t wear masks. There are several signs you can look for that might indicate you have COVID-19.

Common signs you may have COVID-19 include:

  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Sore throat

Doctors can test for COVID-19 via a nasal swab or by testing your saliva. If you suspect you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it, it is important to see a healthcare professional right away to get tested for the virus so you don’t spread it to anyone else.

That said, it is important to know that you can have COVID-19 and not show any signs or symptoms. This is called being asymptomatic. Even though you might not appear sick, you can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Protecting Yourself and Others from COVID-19

Protective face masks and hand sanitizer.

Losing weight (and maintaining it) is one way to protect yourself against serious COVID-19 complications.

Other ways to protect yourself and others include:

  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re able to
  • Wearing a mask in indoor spaces and in areas where a lot of people are present
  • Washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face
  • Limiting or avoiding contact with people who are unvaccinated

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Lose Weight

The COVID-19 virus and its mutations (like Delta) are not going away any time soon. It is important to protect yourself from the virus to avoid short- and long-term complications. Losing weight can be one way to protect yourself against complications that are more likely to happen among people who are overweight or obese.

Xenical for Weight Loss

Pill bottle and tape measure.

If you’re reading all of this thinking, “Yikes, I really should lose weight,” there are steps you can take. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can speed this process up and make sticking to a healthy lifestyle easier.

For people who have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight this way, your doctor might suggest adding in a weight loss medication like Xenical.

When you are overweight or obese, you have excess fat on your body. Xenical can help your body block fats from foods you eat so it doesn’t get stored in your body. You can take it three times per day, with every meal, as long as the meal contains fat.

NOTE: You should not take Xenical if you have gallbladder issues or if you’ve ever had an organ transplant.

To Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about Xenical, check out this article from our blog or call us at 1-800-467-5146 to speak to a U.S.-licensed physician. They can help you decide if Xenical is right for you, provide you with a prescription, and ship Xenical right to your door. Virtual health visits and shipping are always free.

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