'It's complicated because it is a very aggressive disease,' Juan Pedro Franco told AFP. The 36-year-old Mexican man beat COVID-19, which he caught a month ago. He was dubbed "the fattest man in the world" in 2017 when he weighed nearly 600 kilos. 'I had a headache, body aches, my air was gone, a fever. I was a very at-risk person,' he testified from his home in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes.
300 kilos lost over 3 years
As a reminder, at the end of 2016, Juan Pedro Franco weighed 595 kilos. Designated "the fattest man in the world" by the Guinness World Records, he took on the huge challenge of losing half of his weight, about 300 kilos. And he succeeded! Juan Pedro Franco now weighs just 280 kilos.
His weight loss undoubtedly contributed to his recovery from the novel coronavirus, considering that the diseases linked to his obesity (diabetes, hypertension, chronic bronchitis, emphysema) created a favorable environment for the development of a severe form of the virus. Dr. José Antonio Castañeda, the head of the team that took care of Juan Pedro Franco, recalls:
Patients who are diabetic, have high blood pressure or have cardiovascular disease are more likely to suffer from serious complications when infected with COVID-19, and their chances of making it out are very low.
Obesity, a risk factor
Dr. Castañeda believes that his treatments and his patient's drastic weight loss allowed him to "beat the disease," as his diabetes and hypertension are now under control. Unfortunately, his mother, who was his full-time caregiver before he lost half his weight, wasn't as lucky: the 66-year-old died of COVID-19.
Mexico is the world's most obese country and has more than 74,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths so far. A quarter of those deaths occurred in patients who were obese.