Metabolic Inflexibility Is Key Risk Factor for COVID-19

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • While SARS-CoV-2 is a rampant virus that can cause severe problems in vulnerable individuals, the real pandemic — the underlying cause that makes people susceptible to complications from the infection in the first place — is poor metabolic health
  • Aside from old age, obesity has been identified as one of the primary risk factors for being hospitalized with COVID-19 — doubling the risk of hospitalization in patients under the age of 60 in one study
  • One hypothesis for why obesity is worsening COVID-19 has to do with the fact that obesity causes chronic inflammation. Having more proinflammatory cytokines in circulation increases your risk of experiencing a cytokine storm
  • Insulin resistance is another top risk factor for COVID-19 that worsens outcomes and increases your risk of death
  • There are five primary parameters of metabolic health: waist circumference, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and triglyceride and HDL levels. Having three or more abnormal parameters is indicative of metabolic syndrome

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