Coronavirus and Strength


Day 203: Stay Safe Minnesota

COVID-19 patients can loose muscle strength drastically negatively impacting every aspect of recovery.

The Coronavirus pandemic appended many of our lives and most of us have been less physically active since the lockdowns and quarantines began. Maintaining some level of physical activity is critical for our health and longevity.

In the USNews article, contributor K. Aleisha Fetters writes that muscle health is vital to COVID-19 health outcomes and without intentional focus on muscle health, muscle strength and function can drastically deteriorate in COVID-19 patients – negatively impacting every aspect of recovery.

Muscle plays a critical role. It accounts for roughly 40% of our body weight and is a metabolic organ that works other organs and tissues in the body. It provides nutrients to critical organs during times of illness, and losing too much can put your health at risk. Loss can result not only in decreased mobility, strength and energy, but also changes in your metabolism, immune health and internal organ function.

Suzette Pereira, a muscle health researcher with Abbott (source: USNews)

In a Emerson Hospital News article, Joshua Leigh and Nick Schumacher write that the muscle strength is one of the important criteria in the critical care of COVID-19 patients. “Whether an individual has to be on a ventilator in the ICU or recovering in bed at home, muscular wasting is one of the unavoidable consequences of COVID-19.”

One of the things that’s so difficult about this virus is the fear and loneliness that accompanies it. People can’t have their normal support systems. They can’t have friends and family at their bedside. I look like an alien in full personal protective equipment, and I can’t do any of the things that would enhance a patient’s resilience, like hold their hands.

Megan Ranney, Emergency physician at Brown University (from the Atlantic)

In a letter to the Editors of Journal Heart Lung, researchers lead by Timur Ekiz write: “Measurement of the grip strength in Covid-19 patients especially with high-risks (e.g. hypertensive elderly) would for sure be noteworthy. Yet, this may provide an overall idea as regards the general health status particularly the respiratory muscle strength, lung capacity, and can also be predictive for increased morbidity/mortality and treatment response”.

Grip strength is a simple but powerful predictor of future disability, morbidity and mortality in not only elderly people but also in middle-aged and young people.

Timur Ekiz and others in Heart Lung

“Muscular weakness can affect anyone, but recovery can be especially hard for patients who have to be hospitalized for their symptoms. Intensive-care-unit-acquired weakness and post-intensive-care syndrome are conditions where weakness is a side effect of the rest required while being cared for in a hospital. Persistent muscular weakness can contribute to physical, mental, and cognitive difficulty. These lasting challenges often have a profound impact on people who have been hospitalized, long after they’ve left the hospital to return home” write Joshua Leigh and Nick Schumacher.

The following five health experts recommended strategies to help protect muscle, strength and overall health during recovery:

  • Move as you’re able.
  • Add resistance.
  • Prioritize protein.
  • Boost vitamin and mineral intake.
  • Keep close tabs with your medical team.

Further details on the above guidelines: Your Guide to COVID-19 Nutritional Rehabilitation: Restore and Replenish

Coronavirus Pandemic Watch

According to the MDH latest tally (as of Oct 15, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 117,106 (out of 2,403,811 tested) with 2,199 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of Oct 15, 3:24 p.m.) there are 7,966,634 confirmed covid19 infection with 217,601 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 38,750,144 with 1,095,091 deaths.