Understanding And Treating A Cytokine Storm

Understanding And Treating A Cytokine Storm

The COVID 19 pandemic has popularized the term cytokine storm and has brought it into the forefront. If you have not yet heard about cytokine storms or are wondering what it is, do not worry. As a Los Angeles pharmacy, we share the details about the cytokine storm for you.  


The Cytokine Storm 

This term is used to describe an overreaction of the immune system of our body. At the time of a cytokine storm, the immune messengers named cytokines get released into the bloodstream. These cytokines will be released in excess amounts due the threat or long after the virus transforms into a threat to the body. When a cytokine storm occurs, the immune system of our body attacks its tissues, which can result in significant harm to our body.


During a cytokine storm, the immune response can be exaggerated and it can damage the kidneys, lungs, liver, and blood vessels. In addition, it can result in an increased formation of blood clots in the body. As per the experts, the cytokine storm can ultimately prove more harmful than the coronavirus itself.


How To Treat a Cytokine Storm? 

Healthcare experts are only starting to understand cytokine storms and to effectively treat one, it is important to catch a storm as it is happening. Also, there are no failsafe diagnostic methods that can help recognize a cytokine storm. However, there can be many signs that can help understand that a cytokine storm is underway. For instance, blood tests can help understand whether the level of the protein ferritin is more or if there is a high concentration of C reactive protein, which is an inflammation indicator. Both these can be a sign of a cytokine storm.


An elevated immune response is not just caused by the COVID-19 infection. People suffering from cancer and autoimmune disorders can also experience such symptoms.

Steroid medications are often used to treat cytokine storms. These medications can reduce the activity of the immune system and thereby help fight cytokine storms. Medications are also available that can help block specific cytokines and leave the rest of the immune system of the user intact. These prescription medications have worked for RA and cancer patients and are now being tested for coronavirus infections. Studies have also shown that increased levels of HMGB1, which are the molecules that lead to the release of inflammatory cytokines, are associated with many inflammation-related health conditions, out of which many are believed to cause serious complications for persons infected by the coronavirus.