Underlying health conditions that make you more at risk of catching coronavirus

Coronavirus has claimed ten lives in the UK and infected a total of 590 people.

Two victims were in their 60s, four in their 70s and three in their 80s – and one described by Public Health England as "an older patient".

A British woman also became the first person to die in Bali, Indonesia, from coronavirus.

The woman was reportedly already critically ill and suffering from diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroidism and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an Indonesian government spokesman said.

Virologists have confirmed the virus causes greater complications for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Here are some of the conditions experts say put you more at risk of catching the virus.

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High blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, appears to be the most common underlying condition that puts people more at risk.

In Italy, the one country outside of China suffering worst from the virus, found that Italian men with high blood pressure were at greatest risk.

Of more than 1,000 who have died from the virus in Italy, a study of 105 deaths found 14% of those were in their 90s – and more than two thirds already had three or more health problems.

Half of people who died at two hospitals in China's Wuhan, had a history of high blood pressure.

Experts say a drug often taken by those suffering from high blood pressure could be a contributing factor.

The drugs, known as Ace inhibitors reduce blood pressure by locking to a cell a receptor – and coronavirus uses the same cell receptor when infiltrating the body.

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Heart and lung disease

Experts say lung disease and other respiratory conditions can also put people more at risk as the virus can settle easier in those who have impaired lungs.

This also links to age being a risk factor as generally speaking, lung function declines with age.

Sufferers of lung disease also often suffer cardiovascular problems too and again weaker heart function can develop with age and make it easier for the virus to settle.

People with cancer are among those at higher risk of complications as cancer and treatment can weaken their immune systems.

Some treatments, like chemotherapy, can stop the bone marrow from making enough white blood cells – which are part of a person's immune system and fight off infection.

Some types of cancer can also lower your ability to fight infection, such as leukaemia or lymphoma, as they specifically target the immune system.


People with diabetes are also at greater risk of developing coronavirus complictions.

This is because when glucose levels are fluctuating or elevated consistently, the immune system is weakened and a person becomes more prone to infection.

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