A small study showed that men with low testosterone levels had a more severe risk of COVID-19.
Previous studies have shown that men are more likely to experience and develop more severe COVID-19 than women. However, the reason for this is not yet clear. Men, on average, produce higher levels of the hormone testosterone than women.
Low Testosterone in Men Linked to More Severe COVID-19
There is a theory that says that men with high testosterone can get worse with COVID-19, but this theory was later disproved by further studies.
So, the important thing here is to know the correlation between men with low testosterone and more severe COVID-19. To find this out, the researchers collected blood samples from 90 men and 62 women. They went to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis with COVID-19 symptoms and was later said to be positive for the virus.
So, the 143 patients were hospitalized. Researchers took blood samples from all patients who were hospitalized. This was done on the third day, day 14 and 28. Then the researchers measured testosterone levels in patients, as said livescience.com
In women, there was no relationship between the severity of COVID-19 and any hormones.
In men, IGF-1 and estrogen did not indicate the severity of COVID-19, but testosterone levels did predict severity. During hospitalization, men with severe COVID-19 were found to have low testosterone levels or an average of 52 nanograms per deciliter (250 nanograms per deciliter or less is considered low testosterone in adult men). While those with less severe COVID-19 turned out to have testosterone levels averaging 151 nanograms per deciliter. Then, the researchers also examined other risk factors that also affect COVID-19 including age, co-morbidities, BMI, race and smoking. These are some of the factors that can lead to lower testosterone levels.
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On day 3 of hospitalization, the testosterone levels of men with severe COVID-19 decreased to 19 nanograms per deciliter. A total of 37 patients died during the study period, 25 of whom were men.
Lower testosterone levels in men are also associated with a risk of severe inflammation.
“People who have mild COVID-19 at first, but with low testosterone levels, may need proper treatment or intubation for the next 2 or 3 days,” said lead author Dr. Sandeep Dhindsa, an endocrinologist at Saint Louis University. “Low testosterone levels will predict which patients will experience pain in the next few days.”
The research team also found that in men with low testosterone levels, certain genes in the body are activated to make it easier for the body to use the hormone. However, it is not known what effect this has, nor is it known about the severity of the disease.
It is also not clear whether the decrease in testosterone levels is the result of covid-19 or civid-19 which causes testosterone levels to drop.
Prior to his illness, doctors did not measure testosterone levels in patients. So, it’s likely that their testosterone levels had dropped by the time they got to the hospital due to Covid-19. On the other hand, it is also possible that men with severe COVID-19 had lower than average testosterone levels before developing the disease. Well, when testosterone is low, it causes muscle weakness, and decreased muscle mass. This will lead to decreased lung function and a higher risk of requiring ventilation.
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So, the statement about low testosterone can cause the severity of COVID-19 is not clearly known. However, from various research results, there are things that point to it and men with low testosterone can cause more severe COVID-19 disease than men with high testosterone levels.