Covid-19 and Obesity

Covid-19 and Obesity

This is the first article that I’m writing about Covid-19 in the blog. My reason is simple. Things were occurring so quickly and new information was coming at us so rapidly, that it was very difficult for me to formulate what I believed to be the best approach to managing this pandemic, versus how we were told to manage it. Unfortunately, we all had been told things that just did not pan out. Revelations are still occurring. For instance, last week, before the writing of this article, the WHO’s Director General Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that it was premature of the WHO to rule that the Covid-19 pandemic could have been the result of a lab leak. Remdesivir, the only antiviral drug approved to treat Covid-19 by the FDA according to the NIH, does not work. In India approximately 86% of the breakthrough cases (cases of Covid-19 in vaccinated people) is due to the Delta variant.

In the next several weeks, there will be various articles dealing with different aspects of Covid-19, both from my own experiences and from several of the leading experts that I had the pleasure working with in a recent conference on Covid-19.

I’m starting with obesity because it’s my belief that as a risk factor, obesity was grossly underestimated in how it would negatively impact people being infected with Covid-19. In a recent study done by the Center of Infectious Disease and Policy, they highlighted severe outcomes due to obesity even in young patients.

In children, most of the admissions to the hospital and ICU was due to obesity. The question now to be asked is why, especially considering most children and young adults fared well in the pandemic. Lastly the CDC is reporting that 78% of hospital admissions for Covid-19 were considered either obese or overweight.

To understand this, there needs to be an understanding on how Covid-19 affects humans. Basically Covid-19 is a viral-triggered inflammatory disease. By the time organ damage is evident, the virus has nearly stopped all replication.

Unfortunately, obesity creates a chronic inflammatory state onto itself with elevated levels of TNF alpha (Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha) and IL-6 (interleukin-6) both which promote inflammation in the body.

This inflammatory process then creates a decrease in the production of adiponectin, a hormone derived from fat that is important in protecting against insulin resistance, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.

Consequently, this produces a pro-inflammatory state with increased oxidative stress. When a virus such as Covid-19 is introduced into a body that is already dealing with a chronic inflammatory state, it is like throwing jet fuel on a fire.

Since the pandemic, we have all learned about cytokine storm in relation to Covid-19. All of us at one time or another have had cytokine storms occur in our body either due to injury, infection, or some other inflammatory process. It’s part of life and is a good thing in the right amount. With Covid-19, it is not your run-of-the-mill storm, it’s more like an explosion.

Thankfully so far, the only patients of mine that were admitted to the hospital (there were 4 of them), all had BMI’s over 40 and none of my patients died. They were extremely ill, but none had to be intubated, and their recoveries have been slow.

If there is a silver lining to this pandemic, hopefully it will be a wakeup call for the United States in general. We are not a healthy population. We eat too much, and too much of the wrong food. We do not exercise enough and sit on our butts all day. We are vitamin deficient, another huge problem in relation to Covid-19. We have a tremendous amount of medical knowledge and technology, unfortunately over the last few decades, we have become dependent on all this knowledge and technology to bail us out of trouble. Maybe it is time to start depending on ourselves a little.

By | 2022-02-07T19:44:47-05:00 July 26th, 2021|Diet & Exercise, Infectious Disease|

About the Author:

I am a passionate blogger, author, speaker and 3X Board Certified MD in Infectious Disease, Internal & Sleep Medicine. I currently am an infectious disease physician in Atlanta, GA for Infectious Disease Consultants.

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