COVID-19: Are our hormones the culprit behind infection?

London: The human body’s endocrine system that makes hormones is strongly involved in the SARS-Cov-2 infection – the virus behind Covid-19 – so much so that evidence of an “endocrine phenotype” of Coronavirus has emerged, according to a statement by the European Society of Endocrinology.

A team of scientists from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain looked at the available evidence with respect to Covid-19 across a number of endocrine conditions and related factors: Diabetes, obesity, nutrition, hypocalcemia, vitamin D insufficiency, vertebral fractures, adrenal insufficiency, as well as pituitary/thyroid issues and sex hormones.

“The effect on hormones cannot be ignored in the context of Covid-19,” said lead author Manel Puig from the varsity, adding “the evidence is clear”.

“We need to be aware of the endocrine consequences of Covid-19 for patients with a known endocrine condition such as diabetes, obesity or adrenal insufficiency, but also for people without a known condition.” “Vitamin D insufficiency for example is very common, and the knowledge that this condition has emerged frequently in the hospitalised Covid-19 population and may negatively impact outcomes should not be taken lightly,” Puig added, in the statement published in the journal Endocrine.

Diabetes has emerged as one of the most frequent comorbidities associated with severity and mortality of Covid-19, according to a rapidly increasing amount of published data on the incidence of Covid-19 in patients over the last year.

Mortality in Type-1 or Type-2 diabetes has consistently increased during the year of pandemic, A and evidence is emerging that a bidirectional relationship between diabetes and Covid-19 may exist, both in terms of worsening existing conditions and new onset of diabetes.

Similar trends were identified for people with obesity. Obesity increases susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and the risk for Covid-19 adverse outcomes.

The researchers posit that nutritional management is important both for patients with obesity or undernourishment in order to limit their increased susceptibility and severity of infection. Vitamin D, calcium and bone are other areas showing a growing body of evidence that better monitoring and solutions for patients are needed in the context of Covid-19.

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