Scientists from the Netherlands may have found the answer as to why more men with heart failure die from COVID-19 compared to women. They believe it’s because men suffering from heart failure have higher levels of a key enzyme, called angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE2, in their blood which may assist the coronavirus in entering the body.
British researchers have speculated that the virus likes to latch on to ACE2 inhibitors according to the Daily Mail, and the findings from the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands confirm that, in their study, this may be the reason men with heart failure are at higher risk of death.
In almost every country, more men died than women. In Italy, for example, 70% of coronavirus deaths were male, according to The Blaze. While many experts speculated that it was because men were more likely to have poor lifestyle habits like drinking and smoking, now there may be concrete evidence for the gender discrepancy.
“When we found that one of the strongest biomarkers, ACE2, was much higher in men than in women, I realized that this had the potential to explain why men were more likely to die from COVID-19 than women,” said Dr. Iziah Sama, the study’s author, according to the International Business Times.
The study found that men suffering from heart failure were also at increased risk of having other underlying conditions such as diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and higher heart rate. Because of the underlying ailments, the researchers acknowledged that men who have heart failure also have more inflammation in their bodies which accounts for elevated ACE2 levels.
The study was released Monday in the European Medical Journal and emphasized that taking ACE2 inhibitors to regular blood pressure did not lead to higher ACE2 levels in the blood and people should not discontinue their use, according to The Blaze.
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