The coronavirus that originated in China has spread fear and anxiety around the globe. An analysis by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the virus is particularly harmful to middle-aged and older adults.
Although men and women have been infected in approximately equal numbers, researchers found that the death rate among men was 2.8%, compared with 1.7% among women. A number of factors may be working against men in the current epidemic, including biological and lifestyle.
In the earlier, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which also are caused by coronaviruses, the death rate was higher in men. The World Health Organization (WHO) also reported that 63 percent of deaths related to COVID-19 has been among men.
So why is the coronavirus or COVID-19 is deadlier for men?
While more research is needed to answer this, here are a few possible reasons, according to the health experts at SMILES.
- ● The immune system plays a major role in infecting coronavirus. Men are the weaker sex when it comes to mounting an immune response against infections.
- ● Women, because of their two X chromosomes, have a strong immune system and response to the infections.
- ● Men have higher concentrations of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) in their blood than women which enables coronavirus to infect healthy cells in the body.
- ● Men are more at risk to the COVID-19 as they tend to expose themselves more to larger crowds and social exchanges, including handshaking and sporting events.
- More men than women suffer from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, the ailments which make it harder to fight with infections.
- ● Women are more likely to seek medical help if they experience flu-like symptoms. However, men, on the other hand, tend to delay medical attention until the symptoms are more advanced.
- ● On average, men indulge in more health-damaging habits such as smoking and drinking. Smoking is particularly suspected to cause a higher risk of respiratory infections.
- Several studies have found that men — even health care workers — are less likely to wash their hands than women.
- ● Older men are typically hit harder with respiratory diseases. They are more likely to get pneumonia – an infection that inflames the lungs and fills them with fluid.
- ● Research studies have also found that estrogen levels were protective in female mice infected with the virus that caused the 2003 SARs outbreak.
- ● The rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases is always twice as high among men.
- ● Drinking alcohol at hazardous levels could also be one of the reasons for affecting viruses.
- ● Things like consuming too much salt, eating too much processed foods, and eating fewer fruits and vegetables may also play a role in affecting the infections and viruses.
Coronavirus spreads when an infected patient coughs or sneezes small droplets that are packed with the virus into the air or any surface. These can cause infection if you are in close contact with that person or touch any surface they have landed on, which can reach your eyes, nose, or mouth.
So, wearing a mask, coughing and sneezing into tissues, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, avoiding close contact with an infected person are the best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19.
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