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'2020 hindsight' gives us a crystal-clear vision for the future

COVID-19 has changed the world, and the virus' effects are ongoing. But one thing has become clear—the health-care profession is taking an in-depth look at comorbidities.

Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 has given the entire globe a new perspective on health. With the pandemic making its round from continent to continent and causing widespread casualties, the importance of taking care of oneself has never been more front and center. After all, many patients who experienced a grave result from contracting the virus did so because of preexisting conditions.

The effects of the virus’s impact on the world and its population are still ongoing, but one thing has become clear—the health-care world is taking an in-depth look at comorbidities.

What are comorbidities?

Comorbidities, or coinfections, are categorized as coinciding health conditions that can be of both a psychological or physiological nature, one often affecting the other. One condition that thrives in the presence of another is diabetes. Frequently diabetes will go hand in hand with obesity because of the effect insulin resistance has on both conditions.

Another example of comorbidity is inflammation and mouth breathing. Inflammation in the body can lead to arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. For those who breathe mostly through their mouths, xerostomia is common, impacting the mouth’s ability to flush away certain bacteria. Dental professionals are very aware of the effects these bacteria can have when they enter the bloodstream or reside in the sulcus or on the tooth. Mouth breathing can impact the functionality of the respiratory system and lessen the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, often causing a condition called hypoxia, which can lead to heart failure, high blood pressure, decreased lung function, and chronic inflammation.

Many other negative health conditions exacerbate one another. This level of chronic coexistence leads to an even further strain on the body’s health and, in the case of COVID-19, a decreased ability to ward off a new infection.

Coexisting conditions are the norm in the United States
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