This One Thing Could Make You More Likely to Die From Coronavirus

A new study has found that there's a direct correlation between this and increased death rates.

The coronavirus pandemic has been raging for months, and as the days go on, the medical community gains a better understanding of what makes people more at risk for serious cases of the disease. And scientists are also developing ways to determine which patients may need extra attention as soon as they're admitted. Now, a recent study shows that an elevated amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood may be one of the factors that indicates that a coronavirus case is more likely to be fatal.

The findings, which were recently published in the journal The Lancet, indicate that very high levels of cortisol could help predict which patients are at higher risk of death. The study examined the blood tests of 535 hospital patients in London, including 403 who were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. Researchers found that the patients who tested positive for coronavirus yielded up to three times the amount of cortisol in their system than even patients recovering from major surgery—another instance when stress levels typically skyrocket.

A female scientist working in a laboratory using a pipette

Those patients whose cortisol levels were highest—744 nmol/L–survived for an average of 15 more days, while those under that level survived for 36 days on average.

Researchers now say that conducting a simple test of hormone levels in the blood could be a lifesaving tactic to help assign some patients the urgent medical care they require.

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"Now, when people arrive at [the] hospital, we potentially have another simple marker to use alongside oxygen saturation levels to help us identify which patients need to be admitted immediately, and which may not," the study's lead author Waljit Dhillo, PhD, of from Imperial College London, said in a statement. "Having an early indicator of which patients may deteriorate more quickly will help us with providing the best level of care as quickly as possible." And for more on COVID-19 research, check out Your Immunity to Coronavirus Might Only Last This Long, Study Says.

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Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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