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5 Factors That Can Put Women At Higher Risk For Severe Illness From COVID-19

Some women are more likely to get severe illness from COVID-19 and die from the disease than others. Here are a few risk factors linked to poor Covid outcomes in women.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori | Updated : July 28, 2021 5:16 PM IST


COVID-19 In Women

Women are believed to be less susceptible to viral infections compared to men, apparently due to a different innate immunity, steroid hormones and presence of two X chromosomes. Further, experts say that women generally produce higher levels of antibodies which remain in the circulation longer, as well as the levels of activation of the immune cells are higher in women than in men. Studies have also highlighted many differences between men and women in terms of CoV-19 infection. It has been found that men are at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19, getting severely ill and die due to the infection as compared to women. Low testosterone levels in men are thought to be a factor responsible for increased disease severity among males. Among women, there are certain risk factors that can make some more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and die from the disease. These include:



Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 and death. Being obese may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection, says the US CDC. However, the association between obesity and poor outcomes in COVID-19 are worse in men than women.  Also Read - Green Tea May Cause Liver Damage In Some People: Who Is At Risk?


Chronic Illnesses

Women with chronic health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions are at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness and death, compared to healthy women.



Data shows that the severity of COVID-19 and mortality are apparently more likely in pregnant women compared to those who are not pregnant. The risk of serious outcomes of COVID-19 is particularly higher in pregnant women who are older, overweight, or have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes. Researchers have also found COVID-19 infection during pregnancy associated with an increased likelihood of preterm birth.  Also Read - World’s First Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine Developed By Bharat Biotech Gets CDSCO Approval


Vitamin D Insufficiency

Some studies have reported inverse associations between vitamin D and COVID-19 infection. A recent study led by Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center also suggested that low levels of vitamin D appears to be related to increased incidence of COVID-19 infection in black women, especially among women with obesity. The study estimated that Black American women with deficient levels of vitamin D had a 69 percent greater risk of COVID-19 infection than women with sufficient vitamin D levels.