Helping Yourself and Others

Hello and Welcome Back!

As usual, I hope you have been enjoying the blogs. If you would like to comment or discuss them with me, please let me know by responding to the particular blog you would like to discuss.

There is a saying that I have found to be true and that is that a being cannot be adversely harmed by something he knows about and can understand.  With all of the COVID stuff going on, I can’t help but wonder if there simply isn’t a whole lot of misunderstanding going on.

All the media tells us that it’s all really bad. Bad, bad, bad!

A person cannot think with this, and know what is best for themselves and others.

On one hand, people that I know who work in health care say the number of cases has gone way down. On the other hand, and almost like an urban legend, everyone seems to know someone who knows someone who works in the Emergency Room at a hospital and the bodies are just lying everywhere.

It’s not mine to argue either side, but I would like to see if perhaps some light can be shed on some of the concerns, and bring about some understanding and living.

Recently, I was reading an article by a Professor I have heard lectures many times over the years, and whose opinions and insights I have come to value. His name is Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., and while his “poly-syllabic” vocabulary as he calls it can be a bit overwhelming at times, it would be worth one’s time to listen and read what he has to say.

I came across a paper he wrote concerning the COVID- 19 pandemics, and how many researchers are considering the COVID- 19 pandemic to be a pandemic within a pandemic- the title of Dr. Bland’s Paper.

We are all aware of the COVID-19 pandemic, but could there be some reason why some experience only mild symptoms if any, while others become very ill and possibly die?  Could there be a reason beyond the virus itself?

Yes, and more on this other pandemic later!

Dr. Bland discusses a March 2020 Lancet study looking at the clinical course of COVID -19 infection and the risk factors associated with morbidities- basically, co-morbidities.

These are terms we hear a lot, so…

Morbidity- The condition of being diseased.

Co-morbidity- These are co-diseases, diseases a person might have in addition to other diseases.

The study looks at how pre-existing health conditions might increase the risk of COVID- 19 complications such as old age, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.  Interestingly, the severity of COVID-19 infection was associated with each of these co-morbidities. Patients with COVID-19 did worse when co-morbidities were present. Basically, the unhealthier the person was, the worse their response was to COVID-19.

Those diseases named above, (I can say “old age” since I’m an old dude!) along with a number that will be discussed later are caused by and cause a great deal of inflammation in the body.

So, why do some do so poorly with COVID-19, and others experience only mild symptoms?  The literature shows that it depends upon functional states of the immune system.

Co-morbidities alter immune system function. The more inflamed a person is, the worse the outcome with not only COVID-19 but with one’s ability to live a full, healthy life.

I have talked about the problems with improper immune responses and inflammation in previous blogs, and the importance of eating a de-inflammatory diet.  NOT anti-inflammatory, but DE-inflammatory!

Almost all diseases- infectious like the COVID-19 and non-infectious like high blood pressure, high blood fats, diabetes, and obesity are caused by inflammation and are worsened by inflammation.

There is a term that Dr. Bland says is becoming more and more talked about and that is Cytokine Storm.

Cytokines- Proteins that are released by certain immune system cells to regulate inflammatory function, immune response, and inflammation.

The Cytokine Storm occurs when there’s a break down in control of the immune system. It’s an overwhelming inflammatory response that is similar to septic shock!

Septic Shock-Sepsis is an infection of the blood and can affect the function of your organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys.

When septic shock occurs, the blood pressure significantly lowers, and this leads to respiratory and heart failure, stroke, and death.

It is thought that tiny blood clots are formed and blocks oxygen and nutrients to the organs of the body. This is one of the ways I’ve heard the COVID-19 virus can kill.

On May 29, 2020, the Lancet Rheumatology article, it was stated that because of the co-morbidities, and associated inflammation, the coronavirus is the trigger, but the immune response is death.

There is a lot more to say on this subject and recommendations on things you can do to help yourself and others.

Next blog I will discuss the “other” pandemic that is occurring and is far more deadly than COVID-19.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Dave