Coronavirus: Your health and your future after lockdown.
This week, I will be sharing a series of news updates with you, trying to summarise the present pandemic crisis in terms of your health, where we are now, and what you might like to focus on going forwards in order to protect yourself as much as possible. I will include links to some free resources (and a few paid products that can help you) for you every day.
Your health and your future after lockdown.
- Part 1: What we have learned so far. Facts that matter, in brief.
- Part 2: The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.
- Part 3: You, vulnerability, and your best defence.
- Part 4: Strategy for the future, step by step.
- Part 5: Summary of the whole week, brief and visual.
Part 1 of 5 - Monday:
What we have learned so far.
I have a lot to share this week, and I am sure you have better things to do that read self-indulgent waffle, so in the interests of keeping it brief and valuable, I am delivering this in the shortest, bullet-point style that I can.
If you want to read the lengthy version, and the research, follow all the links and ‘fill yer boots’ as there is plenty to take on board.
This post I wrote back in mid-March is a good place to start.
- That post lays out how this pandemic is different from regular flu, why it’s different and who should be most concerned.
- That post was written when the death toll in the UK was just 104 people, and it addresses the question “With only 104 deaths, is this a big deal?”
- In the 46 days since that was written, the death toll in the UK has risen to 28,446. So, yes, this is a big deal. I send my condolences to all the friends and families of those 28,446 people.
- It’s not too long, read it here if you need a refresh on the basic facts.
Next, for a complete primer on the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, you might like to watch this complete webinar.
For my Mother Nature’s Diet (MND) customers (MND Life!), I spend hours researching, checking endless news sources, speaking with doctor friends, trawling papers on PubMed, and digging through scientific references, and I write newsletters and blogs that present, to the best of my ability, facts that are proven and can be backed up. I make lengthy webinars, taking tens of hundreds of hours of books and research and scientific papers, and condensing it all down into an hour or so of straight talk, in plain English. This is what my customers pay me for.
I recently did just this for Covid-19. The end result was a 2-hour webinar presenting, at the time I made it, 9th April, the best information available.
I’ve made over 100 hours of these webinars over the last four years. Many of my customers said my Covid-19 webinar was excellent, full of facts, clarity, myth busting and some ideas about the future. I think this webinar is useful, so I am sharing it with you here.
Recorded on 9th April 2020, this two-hour webinar provides a summary of Covid-19 to the present time.
- What is it?
- How does it spread?
- Who is most susceptible?
- Myth busting.
- What steps can you take to protect yourself?
- After the lockdown, what does our future look like?
Here, again, is the webinar.
The core lesson to be learned, is that this lockdown is no holiday; there is no “just sit home, wait it out, and in a few weeks it’ll all blow over and everything will be back to normal” – not so.
The reality is that there is now a new infectious disease in our world, that we do not have a vaccine or a cure for, and so it may be months, years, or decades until we have one or the other, and until then, Covid-19 represents a serious health threat to the elderly, the weak, the sick, those with underlying health conditions, lung problems, poor metabolic health and sub-optimal immune function. (See below.)
At some point in time, unless you stay isolated, this virus will enter your body, and how you handle it when that happens, is going to depend on how healthy you are, as an individual. More on this is Part 3 and Part 4.
It’s relatively early days still with Covid-19. It can take years, decades, to complete rigorous studies and run medical trials to test our solutions, cures and more.
So, please take everything in that frame of reference. Little, so far, is “proven beyond doubt” and it will likely be months, probably years, before we iron out what is fact from what is coincidence, observation or fiction.
Risk factors for more severe illness with Covid-19
With that caveat in place, it looks so far like there are certain risk factors that determine the difference between someone testing positive for Covid-19 and showing no/mild symptoms, and someone ending up in hospital and possibly facing death.
There seems to be fairly extensive evidence that obesity is a major risk factor for more severe outcomes.
Here - The Lancet
Here - Imperial College London
Here - The Lancet
Here - EASO: The European Association for the Study of Obesity
Here - World Obesity Federation
Here - CDC, USA
Here - BBC, UK, via YouTube
Here - Diabetes.co.uk
Here - Telegraph, UK
Closely connected with obesity, there seems to be increased risk of severe outcomes for Covid-19 cases in diabetics and those who suffer from metabolic syndrome.
This pertinent quote from that text, highlighting that age, heart disease, diabetes, lung problems, COPD, asthma and obesity are all conditions placing persons at greater risk of more severe outcomes:
“Results - The median age was 72 years [IQR 57, 82; range 0, 104], the median duration of symptoms before admission was 4 days [IQR 1,8] and the median duration of hospital stay was 7 days [IQR 4,12].
The commonest comorbidities were chronic cardiac disease (29%), uncomplicated diabetes (19%), non-asthmatic chronic pulmonary disease (19%) and asthma (14%); 47% had no documented reported comorbidity.
Increased age and comorbidities including obesity were associated with a higher probability of mortality.”
In unattractively-plain English, that last line says “if you are older, and obese, you have a much higher likelihood of dying.”
It seems certain that Covid-19 causes major problems with oxygen saturation.
With lung function compromised, and oxygen transport low, it seems all persons with lung diseases, heart disease and cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of more severe outcomes.
Immunosuppressed or immune compromised persons seem to be at increaded risk too.
That might mean folks taking immunosuppressant medications (such as cancer patients, or those suffering severe autoimmune conditions) or people with compromised immune function, again may be a result of another underlying condition (such as cancer, Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis) that includes sub-optimal immune function as a factor or symptom.
There also seems to be growing evidence that ethnicity plays a role in risk. It seems that ethnic minority groups in the UK are at an increased risk.
This is a complex topic. It may be linked to underlying vitamin D deficiency, a topic I have written about many times before, and some experts are calling for immediate advice to all minority groups to begin vitamin D supplementation.
Another complex topic is income and inequality. It seems the lowest income peoples are at the greatest risk from Covid-19.
At this stage it’s impossible to demonstrate proven causes, but wealth inequality is often correlated with worse disese outcomes, for many poor health conditions, as lower income peoples living in more deprived areas are more prone to the effects of lower nutrient-quality diets, more mental health problems, often more alcohol abuse, obesity, less exercise, lower air quality, less access to outside space and so on.
Summary of risk factors
Some factors are beyond our control, some things we cannot change.
- You may be an ex-smoker, like me
- Gender: you may be male, like me
- Wealth inequality
These things are all acknowledged risk factors.
Additionally, if you have COPD, or suffer asthma, or have some other long-term underlying lung problem, it’s unlikely that we can effect any major, rapid improvement through lifestyle and dietary changes.
But, some things we can influence.
Some things you can work on while you’re at home on lockdown, or longer term while we are living in an uncertain world, awaiting the development of a safe vaccine.
- You can manage your weight and keep your body mass in the healthy range.
- You can work on your fitness, which helps heart health, cardiovascular health, lung function, and stable, efficient metabolic function.
- You can clean up and/or optimise your diet for improved gut health, which is a major control of immune system function.
This is Part 1 of 5. Over the next 4 days, the rest of this series of updates will focus on the factors we can work on.
In order to reduce our risk of more severe outcomes, we know we should be healthy and if you are obese or overweight, now would be an excellent time to focus on weight loss.
We also know that poor immune function is a major risk factor. So, we want good immune function.
And finally, we know that fitness is a huge boost to our health. We know that being fit helps us to have a healthy strong heart, healthy cardiovascular system, and healthy lung function. We know that exercise has long been promoted by the NHS as a ‘miracle cure’ for many of our physical ills and mental health problems, and we know that exercise, combined with a healthy diet, aids weight loss.
So, there is much we can do to help protect ourselves.
If you have been paying attention, you’ll have figured it out by now - the goal is “be healthy”!!!!
Now we have laid the foundations, I’ll be back tomorrow with a shorter, punchier message, AKA “The pertinent bit that everyone really ought to understand.”
Then, in Parts 3 and 4, later this week, we’ll look in more detail at what you can do right now, while you’re at home on lockdown, to help protect yourself.
Until then, stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.