High blood pressure, diabetes found to be most common underlying conditions in L.A. County COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus
Certified registered nurse anesthetist Lisa Taft, who normally works in operating rooms, enters a room to care for COVID-19 patients in a makeshift intensive care unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance on Jan. 21, 2021. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Certified registered nurse anesthetist Lisa Taft, who normally works in operating rooms, enters a room to care for COVID-19 patients in a makeshift intensive care unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance on Jan. 21, 2021. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

High blood pressure and diabetes were the most common underlying conditions found among those with comorbidities who died from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, health officials announced Wednesday.

Having an underlying condition can strongly increase the risk of death from COVID-19, and about 85% of Angelenos who died from the virus had at least one comorbidity, which is the presence of one or more additional conditions, L.A. County public health officials said in a news release.

High blood pressure was the most common, seen in 52% of deaths. Another 41% of decedents had diabetes, and 26% had a cardiovascular disease other than hypertension, officials said.

A neurologic disease was the fourth-leading preexisting condition, noted among 21% of those who died, and 16% had chronic renal disease, according to the Department of Public Health.

“People who live with chronic illnesses suffer the worst outcomes of COVID-19 infection,” the department said in a statement. “These numbers should remind us of the importance of ensuring equitable access to preventive healthcare and the other resources that reduce people’s vulnerability to this virus.”

Those with such underlying conditions became eligible for a vaccine in California on March 15, due to their higher risk of death from the virus. Click here for more information on how to find a vaccine appointment in Southern California, where everyone over age 16 is now eligible.

Chronic illness was also a leading indicator of COVID-19 hospitalization, with about 87% of those treated for the virus in L.A. County from last August to January having at least one comorbidity.

The most common preexisting condition among hospitalized patients was cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, observed in 66% of patients, officials said.

That was followed by diabetes, found in 42% of people hospitalized, and 36% of those who died were obese, according to the health department figures.

Another 57 coronavirus deaths were reported in L.A. County Wednesday, raising the pandemic’s toll to 23,553.

Around 500 people were battling the virus in hospitals countywide as of Wednesday, about a quarter of them in intensive care.

But health officials pointed to one encouraging figure: With more older residents becoming fully vaccinated, the rate of hospitalization for people 80 and older has dropped by 96%.

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