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Cytokines are natural mediators that regulate immune responses and communication between cells. The way they interact with the body and each other is extremely complex. A cytokine storm occurs when an extreme amount of mediators act unchecked in the body, amplifying the immune response to critical levels and causing significant damage to the body.

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1. Normal Cytokine Reaction

The body tightly controls the normal cytokine reaction. In a healthy person, cytokine levels are undetectable, but when that person gets sick, cytokines can increase a much as 1,000-fold. When they behave normally, elevated cytokines in the blood are biomarkers that help medical professionals understand how some diseases progress and how a person responds to treatment. A cytokine storm is an extreme and abnormal reaction.

cytokine storm reaction Siqui Sanchez / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.