Coronavirus (COVID-19) complications can include shortness of breath, pneumonia and sadly even death in some cases. The UK’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, reveals the three risk factors for developing these side effects.
At the government press briefing on Thursday April 16, Professor Chris Whitty declared the three “clear” risk factors of developing complications from coronavirus.
“There are three things which are really clear,” Professor Whitty began.
Pre-existing health conditions
The Professor outlined that more than 90 percent of the people who have died from COVID-19 had at least one other disease.
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He pinpointed cardiovascular disease as one common pre-existing health condition in those who have passed away after contracting COVID-19.
Supporting Professor Whitty’s statement, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that in March, 91 percent of fatalities from COVID-19 had at least one other health condition.
The most prevalent pre-existing health condition was ischaemic heart disease – found on 541 UK death certificates.
This was followed by dementia, which was reported on 531 UK death certificates.
Chronic lower respiratory disease had 495 deaths from the virus, with pneumonia affecting 415 people who had lost their lives.
Professor Whitty acknowledged that advanced age puts somebody at an increased risk if they catch coronavirus.
ONS data highlights how the rate of death increases significantly with higher age groups.
For men, the higher risk age group begins from 55 years old and, for women, it begins at age 65.
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The male sex
Professor Whitty pointed out that evidence shows that being a man is a “very clear risk factor”.
The ONS reported that twice as many men, compared to women, died from coronavirus in March.
Specifically, the data revealed that, for men, there was around 80 deaths per 100,000 people infected with coronavirus.
Whereas, for women, there were around 46 deaths per 100,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19.
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It has been suggested that the female chromosomes could have a part to play in females being less prone to serious illnesses.
Women have two “X” chromosomes – which make them biologically female – while men have only one “X” and one “Y” chromosome.
“XY” biologically defines someone as a male. But it is the presence of two “XX” chromosomes found in women that has been linked to better health.
There is a bulk of evidence, published in journals such as JAMA, that link the “XX” chromosomes as to why women are less susceptible to certain diseases.
Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, attest to this theory.
They said the “X” chromosome “contributes to an immunological advantage for females in many infections”.
In fact, they conclude that “females have a major immunological advantage over males”.
And highlight that “the X chromosome is likely to greatly influence sex bias in disease susceptibility”.
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