30-year-old healthy man dies of COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic is highly contagious in nature. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are at a greater risk of serious complications. That is why the recent death of an otherwise healthy 30-year-old school-teacher from New Jersey grabbed the headlines. The teacher, named Ben Luderer wasn’t much worried when he tested positive for COVID-19. His wife also suffered from mild case of the infection and recovered well. But Ben’s symptoms quickly and progressively became more severe over a short period of time. However, after an emergency hospital visit, he seemed to be on the path to recovery when his symptoms suddenly returned and he lost his life to this strain of coronavirus.The death of this healthy 30-year-old with no pre-existing health conditions has perplexed health professionals and experts across the world. This has led them to seek answers to questions like why some young people are getting sick and dying so abruptly. This is not the only case COVID-19 case that is baffling doctors. There are other cases also of young people dying of this disease. Take the case of Conrad Buchanan for example. This a 39-year-old from Florida also had no underlying condition. But also died from COVID-19. Speaking about the death of the New Jersey man, Dr. Anil Mehta, a general physician with Lybrate.com says, “Research has been going on about the mechanism of sudden death from COVID-19. He may have died to multiple causes like acute respiratory failure, bronchopnuemonia, toxicity of the haemoglobin, multi-organ failure or a cardiac arrest.”

It is true that COVID-19 seems to affect older people and those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, the most. But then, Italy saw a 103-year-old woman recovering from this disease. This is why experts find this disease fascinating. According to them, if you contract this disease, whether you will recover or not will depend on many factors. Let us see what they are.

A person’s immunity can decide outcome

Your immunity or lack of it may be the difference between life and death. “People with a weak immune system are more likely to catch the COVID-19 infection and die from it too,” says Dr. Mehta. We see more elderly people with severe complications because they have a naturally low immunity. In the same way, any person with any chronic health disorder will also suffer from a low immunity. Hence, their bodies cannot fight off the invading pathogen and the virus replicates easily in their bodies. This can have very negative outcomes. On the other hand, a healthy and over-active immune system can also sometimes cause an inflammatory reaction that can adversely affect the lungs and other organs in a body. This may be the answer as to why so many young people are falling victim to COVID-19.

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Steroids play a role too

According to Dr. Mehta, “Steroids act us immunosuppressants. They reduce the capacity of your immune cells to function properly. That is why people who are under steroid treatment for autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are more prone to be affected by this coronavirus.” He suggests that if people on steroids catch the COVID-19 infection, they must consult their physician and discuss about switching to  an alternative line of treatment. However, these drugs can be good for young and healthy COVID-19 patients with an over-active immune system.

Can genes define how our bodies react to COVID-19?

Many experts are starting to wonder if a person’s genes can influence the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. They suspect that it can decide whether you get a mild infection or suffer severe complications. Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are saying that a gene variation in the ‘ACE2 gene may make it easier or harder for the virus to get into lung cells’. The Science magazine published this study.