While billions of people around the world worry if they would survive a COVID-19 infection, a new study identifies six standard medical tests people can take check COVID-19 mortality risk and see how susceptible they may be to life-threatening complications if infected.
Outwardly healthy people are dying from coronavirus and scientific evidence now suggests common immune deficiencies correlate with mortality. With a vaccine at least several months away, people can take precautionary measures to assess and manage the readiness of their immune system.
The study identified six clinical markers to test: vitamin D, blood sugar, inflammation, zinc, iron, and genetic predisposition.
Millions of people may be unaware they have these deficiencies and testing and addressing inadequate levels could help save lives.
Here are the top six clinical markers for COVID-19 preparedness:
1. Vitamin D level: A Northwestern University study concluded that COVID-19 patients who have severe Vitamin D deficiencies are twice as likely to develop life-threatening complications. Vitamin D deficiency affects 1 billion people worldwide including 35% of adults and 61% of the elderly population in the United States.
Lab Test: 25-OH Vitamin D test is the industry standard test to detect Vitamin D deficiencies.
2. Blood Sugar Levels: Studies show half of COVID-19 patients that require hospitalization are hyperglycemic, meaning that their blood sugar levels remain dangerously elevated. Too much sugar in the blood acts as an immunosuppressant, potentially crippling the immune system’s ability to fight COVID-19.
Lab Test: A1C test is the industry standard test to assess blood sugar levels over time.
3. Inflammation levels: Inflammation drives nearly all chronic disease including diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease. COVID-19 patients with unchecked inflammation are increasingly experiencing a cytokine storm, a life-threatening condition with high mortality.
Lab Test: C-reactive protein screening is the industry standard test for inflammation levels.
4. Zinc levels: Researchers increasingly recognize zinc as one of the most reliable predictors of COVID-19 mortality. Zinc has long been an important tool in the body’s defenses against pathogens. Up to 25% of the population may suffer from a zinc deficiency. Zinc primarily aids the immune response by halting viral replication.
Lab Test: A blood test will determine if you have a zinc deficiency.
5. Iron Levels: Next to Zinc, Iron is arguably the second-most important nutritional piece of the COVID-19 puzzle. Ferritin is a protein that stockpiles iron and serves as an accurate gauge of how much iron the body has on hand. Studies show that people with too much iron, those with abnormally high ferritin levels, and individuals with too little or an iron deficiency, both have an increased likelihood of experiencing life-threatening inflammation.
6. Genetic predisposition Genetic testing can show how you might respond to a COVID-19 infection. For example, some patients are genetically predisposed to have abnormal excessive interleukin-6 (IL-6) cell activity. COVID-19 may increase levels of IL-6 which is closely linked to the deadly cytokine storm response to an infection.
Industry Standard Lab Test: Interleukin 6 test will detect blood concentration of IL-6 cells.
If you are concerned about your susceptibility to the emergent coronavirus, you need not leave ascertaining your personal risk level to guesswork. The entirety of the tests discussed above will provide a holistic picture of your individual risk and help you address any issues to strengthen your immune system.