• Shelter from the cytokine storm: Healthy living is a vital preventative strategy in the COVID-19 era

      Bond, Samantha; Calvo, Isabel Romero; Lebowicz, Leah; Ozemek, Cemal; Severin, Richard; Laddu, Deepika; Faghy, Mark; Lavie, Carl J.; Carbone, Salvatore; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2021-06-18)
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to have a devastating effect on a global scale. COVID-19 variants continue to arise and counteract vaccination efficacy. As such, preventative health measures, such as social distancing and stay at home mandates, will continue for the foreseeable future. Evidence on those at greatest risk for poor outcomes if infected with COVID-19 has rapidly come to light. It has become clear that those with unhealthy lifestyle characteristics, chronic disease risk factors and/or a confirmed diagnosis of one or more chronic conditions are at greatest risk for hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, and death if infected with COVID-19. The cytokine storm is a phenomenon that has been posited as a pathophysiologic response to COVID-19 infection that leads to poor outcomes. The current graphical review illustrates the association between unhealthy lifestyle characteristics and increased vulnerability to the cytokine storm as well as the physiologic mechanisms healthy living behaviors elicit and decrease risk for the cytokine storm. Through this graphical review, we will demonstrate unhealthy lifestyle characteristics, chronic disease risk factors and diagnoses, and COVID-19 outcomes are intricately linked, creating a new global syndemic. It is also clear that a primary way to uncouple this syndemic is through increasing healthy living behaviors, as illustrated in this graphical review. Moving forward, healthy living medicine should be practiced with renewed vigor to improve human resiliency to health threats posed by both chronic disease and viral infections.