Top 3 underlying conditions behind death in coronavirus: Study

The U.S. spends billions to combat high blood pressure and diabetes each year

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A new study that examined 5,700 hospitalized coronavirus patients in New York is found that high blood pressure was the most common comorbidity, followed by obesity and diabetes.

The study, the first of its kind in the United States, looked at the outcomes of patients at Northwell Health, New York's biggest health system, between March 1 and April 4.

"This is a deadly virus, and we particularly urge patients who are older, who have common chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, if they have any symptoms of unwellness and have the possibility of being exposed they should be consulting with their clinician or calling into an urgent care," Karina Davidson, who directs the Center for Personalized Health at Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell's science wing, told FOX Business.

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The paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday and showed that hypertension (57 percent), obesity (41 percent) and diabetes (34 percent) were the most common coronavirus patients comorbidities, the presence of at least two chronic diseases or conditions.

The study also found that patients with diabetes were more likely to receive invasive mechanical ventilation. The study found that 88 percent of patients who received mechanical ventilation died.

In this April 13, 2020, file photo, a patient arrives in an ambulance cared for by medical workers wearing personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 concerns outside NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The patients who were studied arrived at the hospital in the late stages of their infection, and many were not breathing when they arrived, Davidson said.

"This is an observational study, so we always have to be careful," she said. "Not assuming cause and effect when a clinician does everything in his or her power to try to keep a patient alive. It does not mean one of those techniques actually caused the death."

The patients' median age was 63. The majority were men.

The United States spends billions to combat these chronic diseases each year. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, costs the United States about $131 billion per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

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Health care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for 1 in 4 health care dollars in the United States in 2017, according to the American Diabetes Association. The ADA estimated that treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes cost $327 billion that year, including $90 billion in lost economic productivity.

The CDC estimates that obesity costs the U.S. several billion dollars in productivity each year as well.

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