Research Reveals A Link Between Inflammation And Risk Of COVID Death

According to U.S. News & World Report, reducing inflammation is of the utmost importance for people who were hospitalized because of COVID. The report is based on research published in Frontiers in Medicine on May 12. The study suggests that people who were hospitalized with COVID have an increased chance of death within the first year of recovery due to severe inflammation. Patients who are given anti-inflammatory steroids have a significantly reduced risk of death compared to those who aren't prescribed medications.

Lead researcher Arch Mainous, who is also the vice chair for research at the University of Florida Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, said that several organs are impacted by inflammation because of COVID. "Our data is definitely suggestive that maybe it is worth treating people with some sort of anti-inflammatory," he said.

The findings come as the result of a follow-up question to another study published in Frontiers in Medicine last December that suggested people who were hospitalized with COVID had a significantly higher risk of mortality within the next year post-recovery. "So the question that came up was, why is that?" Mainous said. "Why would that be?"

Upon tracking over 1,200 COVID patients released between January 2020 to December 2021, researchers found that those who received anti-inflammatory steroids reduced the risk of death by nearly 50%, according to U.S. News & World Report. Mainous added that this was an observational study, not a clinical trial, so it's too early to suggest steroids for the long term.

How to reduce inflammation

Lead researcher Arch Mainous told U.S. News & World Report that systemic inflammation can cause a variety of different health problems. "That's why some people have cognitive problems, while others can't smell and others have kidney problems or strokes," he said. WebMD explains that some inflammation is necessary to stand up against infections and help your body heal quickly, but in excess it can cause your immune system to pick a fight with organs. In addition to anti-inflammatory steroids recommended by the study, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help ward off unhealthy levels of inflammation.

Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night is a good place to start. Keep in mind that the quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep. Knowing your sleep chronotype and implementing healthy sleep habits can get you on the right path.

Going for a quick 20 to 30 minute walk at least five days a week is also beneficial for reducing inflammation.

In the diet department, spices like turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger can slow down inflammation as can stocking up on greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli that contain lots of antioxidants (via WebMD). You may also want to go easy on the alcohol and find a healthy substitute to satisfy liquor cravings. Speaking of swaps, trading your coffee for green tea can fight free radicals and minimize inflammation.