Archive for the ‘Covid-19’ Category
As testing increases, we are finding many individuals have been infected with Covid-19. Many have no symptoms. Many do not know that they have it. The overall death rate when counting everyone infected is looking like less than 1%.
The same is true regarding Clinical Osteoporosis. Many do not know that they have it. There are no symptoms except a fracture. Up to 80% of those with thoracic vertebral fractures do not know they have had one. Up to 20% of those with a recognized vertebral fracture die within 6 months from complications of their osteoporosis.
A hip fracture is hard to miss. Hip fracture can be the first symptom of severe clinical osteoporosis. Like Covid-19, hip fracture (Clinical Osteoporosis) is most dangerous in those who are older and/or have pre-existing chronic diseases (co-morbidities).
Over 20% of older men who fracture a hip die of complications within 6 months and many die within weeks. This is comparable to older men with Covid-19 who require a ventilator. Yet osteoporosis gets no respect. More than half the time osteoporosis is not even listed as a contributing factor. And rarely is the hip fracture listed as the cause of death.
We consider Covid-19 to be the cause of death even if we only suspect it. Perhaps it is time to consider a treatable chronic disease like osteoporosis in the same way.
Jay Ginther, MD
The death toll from Covid-19 is rising daily. New York and Washington state seem to have reached a plateau in daily deaths. Eventually every state will peak and then decline in deaths related to Covid-19. But what exactly is a Covid-19 death?
When I was trained, the cause of death for a person was the immediate cause of death. Deaths now attributed to Covid-19 would have been due to respiratory failure or pneumonia or some other complication of viral infection. Covid-19 would have been a contributing cause or even the precipitating cause, but not the final cause.
Today, anyone who dies having tested positive plus those not tested but possibly having had Covid-19 has that listed as the cause of death.
As we discussed last time, most of those who die with Covid-19 already have serious chronic diseases. Pre-existed chronic diseases should be counted too.
Poorly controlled diabetics are at higher risk of death from all causes, but diabetes is rarely listed as THE cause of death. COPD, asthma, emphysema and chronic steroid inhalers are the same. Heart attack is listed when the underlying cause was high blood pressure or high cholesterol or diabetes.
Listing every underlying cause makes the total causes of death total way over 100%. But it can give us a better handle on the chronic conditions which debilitate individuals to the point that almost anything can finish them off. Pre-emptively testing for and treating chronic diseases will lower the death rate from Covid-19 and whatever comes next.
Jay Ginther, MD