Lower testosterone is associated with high risk of severe COVID-19 for men


There have been many different theories formed throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. For example, some people believe that men (compared to women) are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 due to hormonal differences, and many are attributing this to high levels of testosterone.


However, a recent study carried out by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis proposed otherwise. Researchers took blood samples from 90 men and 62 women with COVID-19 symptoms and confirmed cases to measure their hormones (testosterone and estrogen). Their hormone levels were measured on days 3, 7, 14, and 28.


Researchers were able to identify a linkage between COVID-19 severity and testosterone levels in the male cohort, compared to the female cohort. It was suggested that the lower the levels of testosterone are in men, the more severe COVID-19 progresses. This was associated with a higher risk of ventilation, intensive care risk, and higher morbidity risk. This may be due to the correlation between low testosterone levels and increased inflammation, as inflammation leads to many complex metabolic diseases that contribute to severe COVID-19.


Many other factors that could contribute to the risk of severe COVID-19 such as diabetes and old age were recognized in the study. With these findings, researchers are now hoping to investigate the connection between hormones and cardiovascular changes in COVID-19. Further research could be built on top of this study to possibly find a way to treat male patients suffering from COVID-19 with testosterone therapy.


Why this matters: this study demonstrated a correlation between the severity of COVID-19 and testosterone level in men. With the understanding that low levels of testosterone are correlated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19, different treatments and further investigations could be performed to better predict the survival of these patients and aid in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic.


Source: JAMA Network