According to an alarming new study, male coronavirus patients with low testosterone levels may face a greater risk of dying from the virus.
Researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf looked at the first 45 confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU, consisting of 35 men and 10 women.
According to the report:
- 9 men and 3 women from the group died
- 7 patients required oxygen
- 33 required the use of ventilators
- Of the 35 men, over two thirds had low levels of testosterone (about 69%)
- In contrast, the majority of female patients (60%) had elevated testosterone levels.
For months, scientists have been struggling to understand exactly why men are more than twice as likely to die of COVID-19 than women, regardless of age and despite both genders contracting the virus at roughly equal rates. In Ireland and Italy, for example, men account for about 70% of COVID-19 deaths. This latest research is helping to shed some light on why this may be.
Testosterone’s Role in The Body’s Immune Response
The male sex hormone, testosterone, is known for playing a particularly important role in men’s immunity. It helps control and regulate the body’s various immune responses, including fighting viral infections.
In men, low levels of testosterone can disrupt and confuse the body’s response when fighting a pathogen. This can cause the immune system to go haywire, resulting in a “cytokine storm”. When the immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to kill the pathogen, it can eventually begin damaging the body itself and, if left unchecked, can be fatal.
This hyper-inflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system has been observed in many patients suffering from COVID-19. Researchers are now suggesting that low testosterone levels in men diagnosed with COVID-19 seem to be a risk factor for severe and even fatal outcomes.
Professor Gülsah Gabriel, who was involved in the research, told the Daily Mail: “Men with normal testosterone levels do not present a cytokine storm and thus are more likely to survive.”
While we are still in the early stages of understanding this research and what it could mean for potential treatments, the new findings are certainly illuminating and could potentially aid scientists in their race to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Testosterone Level Testing & Low-T Treatments in Austin
Austin Clinic for Men has extensive experience diagnosing low testosterone and replenishing optimal levels of the hormone via Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). If you are interested in learning more, please give our office a call at (512) 645-1540 today.