Updated: May 27, 2021 7:31:29 am
Throughout the pandemic, doctors have seen evidence that men with Covid-19 fare worse than women, on average. One theory is that hormonal differences may make men more susceptible. And since men have more testosterone than women, some scientists have speculated that high levels of testosterone may be to blame.
But a new study in JAMA Network Open suggests that, among men, the opposite may be true: that low testosterone levels are linked to more severe disease.
The study could not prove that low testosterone is a cause of severe Covid-19; low levels could simply serve as a marker of some other causal factors.
The researchers measured hormones in blood samples from 90 men and 62 women who came to Barnes-Jewish Hospital with Covid-19 infection. Of them, 143 were admitted.
Among women, no correlation was found between levels of any hormone and disease severity. Among men, only testosterone levels were linked to Covid-19 severity.
The lower the levels, the more severe the disease. For example, those with the lowest levels were at highest risk of going on a ventilator, needing intensive care or dying; 37 patients (including 25 men) died over the course of the study.
Source: Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
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