Health Lifestyle

M’sians with these 3 diseases have the highest odds of dying to COVID-19

In the COVID-19 Ringkasan Kes Kematian Terbaru infographics that KKM pumps out daily, you’ll see a thing called “komorbiditi”, which is essentially when a patient dies of COVID while having other, underlying diseases.

Are we only ones sick of seeing these? Img by Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia

At first glance, it’s nothing unusual. There’s loads of people out there who’ve got longstanding conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure… and therein lies the problem. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who suffer from these conditions have a higher probability to be “severely ill from COVID-19”. When a person experiences comorbid conditions, they may have a compromised immune system or need additional care that exposes them to others.

Most of us at Cilisos aren’t the healthiest people, so we wanted to know what the odds are of us meeting the Big Roti Canai in the sky sooner than intended if we were infected with COVID.

Everyone in the Cilisos office right now. Img by TheReportOfTheWeek

This guy Aimrun, as it happened, had scraped and looked through the death data from daily reports courtesy of our Kementerian Kesihatan (available here, if anyone’s interested). Aimrun’s not a medical guy (but he does have an engineering background and he’s looking for employment, wink wink nudge nudge) not are we, but the data yielded some fascinating insights nonetheless.

A short disclaimer before we continue: none of the people involved in this are medical professionals, so do take this one as more of interesting pieces of (well researched) trivia. Expectations set? Good. Let’s move along.


Diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease are the biggest killers

Three diseases showed up so frequently in the stats that we felt like we had to take a closer look. Take a look at this co-occurrence chart:

These look kinda like Iron Man’s Arc Reactor. No? Just us?

Don’t let the complicated looking chart scare you away; what it’s saying is that 3 diseases appear to be correlated to a large proportion of the COVID deaths in the dataset. This unholy trifecta is made up of:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease 

Basically, the thicker the red lines, the more prevalent the disease. Evidently, those under the age of 40 have less to worry about, and those above the age of 40 have buttload to contend with; but either way, people in both age groups who have one or more of the unholy trifecta are at higher risk of succumbing to COVID. How much higher is the risk, though? Well, we got y’all covered on that front with some Cilimath™ (read: ask the guy who gave you the data to do the math).

COVID patients with heart disease, kidney disease AND high blood pressure be like:

Generally speaking, your chances of kicking the bucket if you’re infected with COVID are:

  • 1 in 3 if you’ve had a stroke before
  • 1 in 15 if you have diabetes
  • 1 in 20 if you have hypertension
  • 1 in 50 if you have if you have kidney disease
Are you going to the gomen hospital during MCO? You may be overcrowding it

Obviously, younger folks are at lower odds of dying to COVID, even with pre-existing conditions, but young or old, the outlook’s pretty grim. One thing to note is that we had to do some tweaking to be able make these calculations, and the probabilities are more of a rough estimate more than anything else.


Young people are dying more, but at a lower rate

Less young people are dying of COVID, but more of them are dying on the inside.

We’ve heard people say that younger people are more likely to die to COVID nowadays, but… hear us out. After looking at a whopping 6,240 deaths caused by COVID between 8 October 2020 and 13 July 2021, there’s no denying it: there are more folks at the younger end of the spectrum dying of COVID as of late, BUT that’s if we just look at the raw numbers.

The TL;DR of this entire point.

With COVID infections rising higher than Snoop Dogg on the good kush, higher death numbers across the board are only to be expected. Here’s the kicker: the COVID mortality rate for those under 40 have actually been on a downtrend – from a historic high of 25% of daily deaths in January this year to a (mere) 6% by mid July. Not sure why that is, but it could be we’re just handling the overall situation better as a country.


The better your health is, the higher your chances in surviving COVID

Aaaaand the scale’s broken. Img by Vetcoolerobin

Us Malaysians are living longer owing to better healthcare, but we’re not necessarily living healthier lives. Many of us are out of shape; 1 out of 5 Malaysian adults are obese. On top of being an indication of the nation’s health, obesity is a serious risk factor for COVID patients.

When we think about health nowadays, we’re thinking of how not to get COVID, but we should really be thinking of how to lead healthier lives. Start eating more balanced meals if you haven’t already, remember to stay hydrated and get sufficient sleep. It’ll only help in the long run (once the gomen actually allows us to start running again).

Before we forget, we wanna give Aimrun, a big shoutout. Without him, there’s no way we could’ve analyzed the mountain of data and crunched the impossible amount of raw numbers. We only took some highlights, but for those who want to know more about his research methodology and other behind-the-scenes stuff, feel free to check out his Github repository!

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