Raj Bhopal: We often find that there are differences for many, many diseases, chronic diseases. We don’t fully understand it. Currently, the evidence seems to suggest, it’s not strong, but seems to suggest, when women get the disease, they are more likely to have difficulties shrugging it off and they might have it for a longer period of time, perhaps, more severe for a longer period of time. Men are more likely to die, middle aged men in particular. In middle age, men are about 2.5 times more likely to die than women. In the oldest age groups, 40% more likely to die and in the youngest age groups, they are 40% more likely to die, so there is an age effect as well as a sex effect. This has been published in the Lancet, so it has gone through peer review, which means it is reliable. We can describe things, but we can’t always explain them. It comes down to speculation at the end of the day. Now, the reason, older people are getting it more severely is almost most certainly to do with their immune systems. Their immune system declines because they are old, simple as that. As we age, the cells of our bodies are not as efficient as they used to be. It’s the nature of the ageing effect.
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