COVID-19 patients with high cholesterol are more likely to die

WAUWATOSA – Pioneering COVID-19 research is taking place at The Medical College of Wisconsin.

Using patient-protected data from hospitalized COVID-19 patients, researchers at The Medical College of Wisconsin found that people with high cholesterol had a 2.3-fold higher risk of dying from COVID.

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“COVID-19 really attracted our attention because blood clots can occur, not only as heart attacks or strokes, but also as very small blood clots and (causing) organ damage,” explains lead researcher Dr. She. Zheng.

Dr. Zheng says this may explain why some COVID patients with even mild symptoms lose their sense of smell.

“Loss of odor can also be caused by small blood clots that also develop in the brain,” said Dr. Zheng.

She and her team of researchers found that symptoms became more fatal in people with dangerously high cholesterol levels. More specifically, triglyceride levels, which are a type of fat in your blood. Too much can increase the chance of blood clots, which happened in our most vulnerable hospitalized COVID patients.

In the past year, researchers believe they have discovered why. S-protein called tPA prevents fat in your blood from building up and causing dangerous blood clots. The COVID-19 virus prevents this protein from working.

Dr. Zu Zhang says this causes the blood clots to continue to form and kill vulnerable patients.

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Research assistant Maya Rodriguez analyzed COVID-19 mortality based on race alone. She found that Asian and non-white Hispanics were about four times more likely to die from COVID in general compared to inpatient white patients.

“We’re still really interested in finding out what could be the possible factors that could be causing this high probability of mortality,” Rodriguez said.

None of this would have been possible without a grant of more than $ 30,000 from Steve Cullen Healthy Heart Club Running / Walking. They hope to raise more money for life-saving research like this at the Medical College of Wisconsin with their 25th annual event. It takes place on Saturday, February 12 in Wauwatosa. Click here to learn more.

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