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Coronavirus latest: Women who take HRT may be at higher risk of dying from COVID-19

Health experts have warned that HRT and some types of birth control can increase a person’s risk of blood clots. Researchers now believe that those being infected with COVID-19 are at greater threat of blood clots. With this in mind, a new warning has been issued for women who are on the pill or taking HRT as they could be at higher risk of dying if they catch the novel coronavirus. What is the link between the medications and COVID-19?

Coronavirus still baffles many leading health scientists and researchers with new insight on how the deadly virus works being uncovered almost weekly.

Studies have shown the virus causes clots, also known as thrombosis, and could be contributing to the number of people dying.

Medical experts have previously warned that up to a third of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus are developing thrombosis.

In the latest research from the US, studies suggest that pregnant women, taking the pill or HRT face added danger.

Co-author of the study, Dr Daniel Spratt from Maine Medical Center in Portland said: “During this pandemic, we need additional research to determine if women who become infected during pregnancy should receive anticoagulation therapy or if women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy should discontinue them.”

The problem lies in oestrogen which fuels potentially deadly deep vein thrombosis in some expected mothers and those women using the pill or HRT.

Oral contraceptives are known to carry a small risk of the condition which could be exacerbated by COVID-19, according to the paper published in the journal Endocrinology.

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The researchers said of their findings: “If infected with COVID-19, these women’s risk of blood clotting could be even higher.”

Dr Spratt added: “Research that helps us understand how the coronavirus causes blood clots may also provide us with new knowledge regarding how they form in other settings and how to prevent them.”

Dr Spratt urges more studies on this matter by using innovative animal and tissue models as links between blood clots and COVID-19 are complicated.

Why does the virus cause blood clots?

According to a Nature article, researchers are not sure why COVID-19 causes blood clots, said Medical News Today.

The health site continued: “One theory is that the clotting occurs when the novel coronavirus attacks the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels.

“The virus does this by binding to the ACE2 receptors, which are present in the endothelial cell membrane.

“Once the virus binds to these receptors, the blood vessels start releasing proteins that trigger blood clotting.

“Another theory is that COVID-19 causes the body’s immune system to trigger a hyperactive inflammatory response. This inflammation may then trigger clotting.”

For the average woman, the absolute risk of a blood clot just one in a thousand – but the threat of coronavirus may raise this significantly.

“As more information emerges regarding the effects of Covid-19, questions arise as to whether infection aggravates blood clots and strokes associated with combined oral contraceptives and other oestrogen therapies, as well as pregnancy-associated risks,” said Dr Spratt

Rates of strokes double from about four to eight in 100,000 young women a year, while similar figures have been found for older women on HRT.

Dr Spratt added: “In pregnancy, the risk of blood clots increases four to fivefold.

“A common recommendation is to discontinue oestrogen-containing preparations two weeks before planned activities that may cause thrombosis such as surgery or long flights.”

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