Men and women experience different symptoms when they are infected with Covid , a study suggests.

Researchers studied dozens of people before, during and after catching the virus, measuring multiple health vitals using a wearable medical device.

Results showed that men’s skin temperature got warmer, their heart rate increased more and their breathing got quicker.

The researchers are unsure exactly why this happened but suggested it could be due to a stronger white blood cell response in females as compared to male Covid patients.

During the pandemic, more men were hospitalized with the virus and died than women.

The researchers suggested the sex-specific responses to Covid may be linked to the higher mortality and hospitalization rates observed in male Covid patients

The researchers suggested the sex-specific responses to Covid may be linked to the higher mortality and hospitalization rates observed in male Covid patients

Men had bigger increases in skin temperature, breathing rate and heart rate than women, as well as a larger decrease in heart rate variability in males compared to females during the symptomatic period. Men's breathing rate and heart rate also remained at significantly higher levels during the recovery period as compared to their female peers

Men had bigger increases in skin temperature, breathing rate and heart rate than women, as well as a larger decrease in heart rate variability in males compared to females during the symptomatic period. Men’s breathing rate and heart rate also remained at significantly higher levels during the recovery period as compared to their female peers

As of September 2023, some 629,728 men had died from Covid in the US compared to 517,046 women.

Researchers from Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein collected data on 1,163 people using the Ava wearable medical device – an FDA-cleared tracker worn on the wrist which is primary use to track women’s fertility.

More than 1.5 million hours of physiological data was recorded and analyzed during the study period between 2020 and 2021.

During that time, 127 participants tested positive for Covid.

About 82 Covid patients had sufficient quality of data from the Ava app to include in the analysis: 56 women and 26 men.

In addition to the increases observed, data also showed that male participants’ breathing and heart rate remained at significantly higher levels during the recovery period compared to their female peers. 

Researchers also observed a larger decrease in heart rate variability among men compared to women during a Covid infection, meaning there was less variation in time between each heartbeat. 

Low heart rate variability can be a sign of current or future health problems because it shows that your body isn’t adapting to changes well.

Separate research has shown that women more frequently experience persistent symptoms such as difficulty breathing and fatigue several months after the acute phase of the illness.

While the study was controlled for BMI, age, hypertension, and alcohol and drug use, it could not account for hormonal changes across the menstrual cycle among female participants, which could have impacted results.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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