Coronavirus: what is the risk for men over 50?

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Most people with coronavirus recover about a week after the onset of symptoms and do not require medical attention.

But some people will need to be treated at the hospital – including the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson, 55, is being treated at St Thomas’s Hospital in London after his symptoms worsen.

He received oxygen, but did not need a ventilator to help him breathe.

What people can get sick?

Some people are at a higher risk of complications.

This includes people over the age of 70, whether or not they have health conditions, and people of all ages with underlying health problems, such as heart disease.

In the UK, more than 1.5 million people are most at risk of needing hospital treatment if they get a coronavirus.

This includes people with cancer who have received chemotherapy, and are asked to stay home all the time to protect themselves from the virus.

The coronavirus also appears to disproportionately affect men in their 50s and 60s to some extent, although they are not identified as a high-risk group.

Why older men?

Scientists don’t know why it could be.

Data from the UK intensive care unit show that the average patient who is gravely ill is 60 years old. Most are white men and many have other health conditions that could put them at increased risk, such as heart problems and obesity.

Of the 647 coronavirus-related deaths recorded by the Office for National Statistics in England and Wales up to the week ending March 27, 44 were between the ages of 45 and 65 – about 7% of the total.

Mortality rates increase with age for men and women, but men tend to outnumber women through the ages.

Data from China, where the pandemic started, also suggests that men are more at risk than women, although experts warn that there may be factors other than gender, such as smoking habits. , which could explain the link.

Professor Ian Hall, Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Nottingham, said: “I am not convinced that this completely explains the increased risk of serious illness in men, so it seems possible that there may be another factor still unidentified playing a role. “

Men are more likely than women to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Some have suggested that genes and sex hormones may also be involved.

Are women more immune?

Professor Philip Goulder, an immunology expert at the University of Oxford, said: “There is growing recognition that there are substantial differences in the immune system between men and women and that these have a significant impact on the outcomes of a wide range of infectious diseases.

“The lifelong immune response to vaccines and infections is generally more aggressive and more effective in women than in men. “

This could be due to women carrying two copies of the X chromosome, compared to the single X and Y that men have.

A number of critical immune genes are located on the X chromosome.

How can you protect yourself?

Stay as fit and healthy as possible by exercising and following a balanced diet.

If you smoke, now is a good time to quit.

Men are more likely than women to:

  • smoke and smoke more cigarettes a day and smoke hand rolled tobacco
  • eat too much salt
  • eat too much red and processed meat
  • eat too few fruits and too few vegetables
  • drink alcohol and drink at dangerous levels

Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes small droplets – filled with viruses – into the air. These can be inhaled or cause an infection if you touch a surface they landed on, then your eyes, nose, or mouth.

It is therefore important to cough and sneeze into the tissue, not to touch your face with unwashed hands, and to avoid close contact with infected people.


What if I experience symptoms of coronavirus?

If you have a new, continuous cough or fever, you should stay home and isolate yourself for at least seven days.

If you, or someone you live with, develop symptoms, the whole household should be isolated for 14 days to watch for signs of the disease.

What should I do if my symptoms do not improve?

The main reason why people need hospital treatment is difficulty breathing.

In the UK, the NHS 111 website will guide you through what you need to do.

If you are so short of breath that you cannot speak more than a few words, you will then be asked to call 999 as it is a medical emergency.

  • When do people go to the hospital with coronavirus?

If you get so sick that you have stopped doing all of your usual daily activities, the website will advise you to speak to a nurse by calling NHS 111.

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