Neurodegenerative disorders that cause dementia increase the risk of contracting severe COVID-19 and dying from the disease. For people with Alzheimer’s the risk is three times greater. It can be six times greater if they are over 80 years old according to a study conducted in Brazil by researchers at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and Butantan Institute in partnership with colleagues at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).
Dementia had already been identified as a risk factor for COVID-19, alongside other comorbidities, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. One of the reasons is age: patients with dementia tend to be older, and many live in care homes where the risks of infection and viral transmission are greater.
Of the nearly 13,000 subjects in the study, 1,167 tested positive for COVID-19 by RT-PCR. Statistical analysis showed that all causes of dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, were risk factors for severity of the disease and death in the case of hospitalized patients, regardless of age. Another reason we were so strict in enforcing our limited visitation in our centers. Did our residents suffer other negative outcomes related to loneliness, depression, anxiety, weight loss, etc.? Certainly, but knowing what we know today, it might have been much worse. Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!