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Why COVID-19 poses a greater risk to men than women

16/04/2020

Why COVID-19 poses a greater risk to men than women

Several studies have revealed that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting men and the potential reasons include everything from biology to bad habits.


According to the World Health Organization, men have accounted for 69% of COVID-19 related deaths in Europe. Meanwhile, reports suggest that in New York City men have been dying from COVID-19 at almost twice the rate of women.


It is thought that both genetics and lifestyle choices play a part when it comes to COVID-19 outcomes in men.


First and foremost, because of their extra X chromosome, women have stronger immune systems and respond better to infections than men. Then there is the fact that more elderly men suffer from heart disease than elderly women and that high blood pressure and liver disease are more prevalent in men too. All of these conditions are factors that are associated with more negative COVID-19 outcomes.


In addition, men are statistically more likely to smoke than women. In fact, according to Our World in Data figures, more than one-third (35%) of men in the world smoke, compared to just over 6% of women. With smoking one of the biggest risk factors for chronic lung disease, men are at a much greater disadvantage should they get COVID-19.


[Related reading: Can you catch the new coronavirus twice?]

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