Two medications recently have been shown to have benefit in combating the severity of Covid-19. Patients taking statin drugs such as Lipitor who develop Covid-19 have a 40-50% reduction in dying of Covid-19 if they are admitted to the hospital. Diabetic patients had an increased risk of complications and death from Covid-19. It appears that metformin, an oral hypoglycemic agent, showed a significant reduction in disease severity and mortality. This is great news as we try fight our way through this pandemic. The more important question is, why they are effective?
The answer is metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities in the body that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes. Disease-associated metabolic syndrome includes hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes. Unfortunately for many with metabolic syndrome, their only symptom may be an enlarged waist. A patient with metabolic syndrome is also prone to fatty liver disease, which can eventually cause cirrhotic liver disease or cirrhosis. Chronic Hepatitis C is the leading cause of cirrhosis today. Now with effective treatment of chronic Hepatitis C, eventually fatty liver disease will become the leading cause of cirrhosis, unless we start reversing some of the current dietary practices today in this country.
In a recent round table discussion this year metabolic syndrome is considered the new silent killer. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is approximately 30%. Once again, unfortunately, this appears to be becoming a larger problem here in the US as time goes on.
This syndrome causes it own type of inflammation, known as metabolic inflammation or metaflammation. In conjunction with obesity, it is this pro-inflammatory state that is the powder keg that causes that massive cytokine explosion, with Covid-19 being the spark.
Statins and metformin are effective in helping with Covid-19 by reducing the inflammatory response due to metabolic syndrome. Other things known to help with metabolic syndrome are a healthy diet and exercise.
As time goes on with Covid-19, it appears as if we will not vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. Covid-19 is mutating quickly due to animal resivoirs. It’s time to change strategies, like early therapuetics and healthy living.