Picture: Reed Saxon/AP
Picture: Reed Saxon/AP

Previous reports on TB, diabetes may hold link to Covid-19 trend

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Dec 21, 2020

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Johannesburg - Although the long-term effects of Covid-19 remain unknown, Statistics SA has analysed data on comorbidities such as TB and hypertension which show a better understanding of the most common conditions in severe coronavirus cases.

South Africa is experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The country recorded 10 939 cases. The total death toll stands at more than 24 000.

A report by Stats SA aimed to profile the impact of Covid-19 on mortality and morbidity and fertility. Covid-19 has been associated with certain comorbidities which have an impact on the severity of the virus in individual cases. Comorbidities, such as diabetes, TB and hypertension, have played a critical role in some cases, this is according to information reported by the Department of Health.

Stats SA's analysis of demographic and health data shows a picture of the prevalence of comorbidities demographically in South Africa and can help explain deaths due to Covid-19.

The SA Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS), which provides updates on demographic health data, shows that most common chronic conditions in men and women are high blood pressure, where 23% of men and 13% from women reported being diagnosed with the condition. This is followed by TB.

"The prevalence of hypertension rises steadily with increasing age, peaking at 84% among both women and men aged 65 years and older. The prevalence of diabetes generally increases with age, reaching a peak of 30% among women aged 65 or older and 23% among men aged 55 to 64. The prevalence of diabetes increases with increasing body mass index (BMI), peaking at 23% among obese women and 24% among obese men," according to Stats SA’s analysis of SADHS data.

Data supplied by the World Health Organization has shown that those who are older and those with comorbidities, such as diabetes, have a greater risk of dying from Covid-19.

The Stats SA report analysed previous health reported cases on comorbidities and the deaths linked to the conditions – the same conditions linked to Covid-19.

"The proportion of deaths due to communicable diseases (TB, HIV, chronic lower respiratory diseases) were higher amongst males. Deaths due to non-communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity) were higher amongst females and mostly amongst the elderly population and in more urbanised provinces," according to 2017 mortality and causes of death data.

Stats SA data analysis linked to Covid-19 also analysed risk probability among men and women. Data shows that women between the ages of 15 and 49 years are more at risk of contracting the virus because of risk behaviour.

Political Bureau

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