Women more likely to have long COVID than men

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In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Western Ontario, an interesting finding emerged: women are more likely than men to experience long-term effects after recovering from COVID-19, a condition often referred to as “long COVID.”

This condition involves having symptoms that linger or appear well after the initial infection phase has passed.

The study, particularly focused on the connection between a person’s body mass index (BMI) and their likelihood of suffering from long COVID, found that this link was more pronounced in women than in men.

COVID-19 has left a lasting impact worldwide, with over 60% of those infected in Europe dealing with ongoing, sometimes severe, symptoms months after the initial sickness.

This phenomenon, known as long COVID, has puzzled scientists and healthcare providers trying to understand why some people recover quickly while others face long-term challenges.

The research team, led by Dr. Sarah Cuschieri, alongside Dr. Saverio Stranges and Piotr Wilk, analyzed survey data from middle-aged and older adults across 27 European countries.

Their findings were shared in the International Journal of Obesity, shedding light on the patterns of long COVID across different demographics.

The motivation behind this study stemmed from the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the observation that some people continued to report symptoms long after their acute infection had cleared.

With a significant portion of the global population classified as obese (a BMI of 30 kg per square meter or higher), who are already at risk for more severe COVID-19 infection outcomes, the researchers aimed to explore if these individuals were also more vulnerable to long COVID and if there were any differences between men and women.

To conduct their research, the team utilized data from the SHARE database, which includes information from a Europe-wide survey focusing on adults aged 50 and older.

This database, which has been compiled over several years, including during the pandemic, provided a rich source of information for analyzing the prevalence of long COVID symptoms in relation to participants’ BMI and gender.

The analysis revealed that women, regardless of their BMI, faced a higher risk of long COVID compared to men.

Interestingly, men with a higher BMI seemed to have a lower risk of developing long COVID than those with a lower BMI, suggesting that the relationship between BMI and long COVID might be influenced by other factors.

It’s crucial to note that a higher BMI can also increase the risk of other chronic diseases, which could complicate the understanding of long COVID’s dynamics.

Understanding who is more likely to suffer from long COVID, including the differences between men and women, is vital for healthcare professionals and policymakers.

This knowledge can help in developing preventive measures and treatment plans tailored to those most at risk, potentially improving outcomes for individuals affected by long COVID.

The study also highlights the importance of considering gender differences in the ongoing efforts to understand and manage the long-term consequences of the pandemic.

Further research is on the horizon, with plans to delve deeper into how long COVID affects people across different countries and health statuses.

This continuous exploration is essential for developing more effective strategies to combat the lasting effects of COVID-19, ensuring better care and prevention for everyone impacted by the virus.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to severe COVID-19, death, and how diets could help manage post-COVID syndrome.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that low-sodium plant-based diets may prevent COVID-19 better, and results showing zinc could help reduce COVID-19 infection risk.

The research findings can be found in International Journal of Obesity.

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