Obese men are more likely to die of Covid than fat women, research shows
- Research of 3,500 hospital patients in New York showed that obese men suffer more
- Men were more likely to have severe Covid at lower BMI levels than women
- Researchers couldn’t determine why obesity affects more men
Research has suggested that obese men are more likely to die from and suffer from severe Covid than obese women.
Data from 3,530 infected patients admitted to hospital in New York showed that men do not have to be as fat as women a ‘significant association with higher in-hospital mortality’.
Academics also found that obesity may be a stronger risk factor for severe Covid pneumonia and the need for a ventilator in men than women.
In the study, a BMI of 35 to 39.9 was considered class II obesity, while 40 and over was considered class III.
Obese patients were more likely to die in hospital, develop severe pneumonia, or need to be connected to a ventilator, compared to healthy weight adults.
The association was stronger the fatter people got, according to results published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
The study authors said men were more likely to have severe Covid at lower levels of obesity than women.
The researchers could not determine why obesity was more strongly linked to severe Covid in men than in women.
Obese men are more likely to die from and suffer from severe Covid than obese women, New York study suggests [stock photo]
WHY DOES OVERWEIGHT MAKE COVID WORSE?
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop and die from severe Covid because they are generally less healthy and have a poorer immune system.
Covid is prey to people who are not in good health – it causes fluid to build up in the lungs, blood clotting, swelling in the airways and blood vessels, intense fever, and can cause an overreaction of the immune system. All of these can seriously damage vital organs.
Overweight people are more likely to have severe versions of these effects because their bodies already struggle to deal with them due to the burden of carrying excess fat, hormonal and chemical changes caused by obesity, and higher rates of long-term illnesses such as diabetes and high bloodpressure. blood pressure.
Fat in the abdomen presses on the diaphragm – the breathing muscle – and compresses the lungs, making them weaker and less able to expel the viruses when they enter, Science magazine explains.
Blood is also more likely to clot because blood vessels are damaged and not working properly, in part because of constant swelling and irritation caused by chemicals released from fat. One researcher told Science that obese people with Covid had “the stickiest blood I’ve ever seen.” These clots then travel to the lungs and other organs and can be deadly.
The immune system is also weaker in overweight people because fat cells enter organs that would normally make white blood cells, such as the bone marrow, meaning their ability to work normally is reduced. This means it takes longer to fight the virus, if the body can at all.
And any organ dysfunction, such as those caused by heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or dementia, has been found to make Covid-19 worse because it preys on damaged areas of the body and exacerbates existing problems. All of these are more common in obese people.
They found that among the men who died of the coronavirus, they tended to have higher systemic inflation – an overreaction of the immune system – than women.
But the team at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, couldn’t link that to obesity.
Dr. Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, a senior research fellow in health behavior at the University of Oxford, said more work was needed due to the small number of women in the study.
He added, ‘Larger studies are needed before we can say with any certainty that Class II obesity is a less risk factor in women than in men.
What we can now say with certainty is that obesity is associated with an increased risk of worse Covid-19 outcomes per se, and is a risk factor for conditions such as type 2 diabetes that are also prone to worse outcomes.
Obesity is a complex, chronic and recurrent condition that is a major contributor to health inequalities. Structural causes of obesity must be urgently addressed. ‘
Obesity has been linked to more serious reactions to Covid because it causes lung and arterial damage, making the virus’s effects more dangerous.
Previous studies suggest that being overweight can increase the risk of severe Covid by 40 percent, while obese people are 70 percent more likely to be hospitalized with the disease.
The study looked at data from patients admitted between March 10 and May 1 last year.
Of the 3,530 patients included in the analysis, 1,579 were women, 896 had a BMI less than 25, 1162 had a BMI of 25–29, 809 had a BMI of 30–34, and 663 had a BMI of 35 or greater.
The authors also examined whether systemic inflammation was linked to an increased risk of death.
Dr. Arcelia Guerson-Gil, one of the authors of the paper, said: ‘A major cause of the severity and death of the disease is known to be an excessive inflammatory response associated with high levels of circulating cytokines, such as IL-6.
Obesity is considered a state of increased chronic inflammation, so we suspected that there may be a link between body mass index and systemic inflammation, as indicated by the IL-6 level. However, we found that this was not the case. ‘
The authors suggested that obesity can lead to poor outcomes for Covid due to other factors, such as poorer lung function, increased respiration, or higher expression of a receptor called ACE2, which allows Covid to enter cells in adipose tissue.