• Tue. Mar 9th, 2021

Quarter of Covid patients suffer hair loss with women most at risk


Feb 23, 2021

Researchers in Wuhan studied the long-term effects of Covid (Picture: Getty Images/EyeEm)

A quarter of Covid patients experience hair loss in the first six months after being infected – with women more at risk, according to a new study.

Researchers studying long-term symptoms in Wuhan found 359 out of 1,655 hospital patients (22%) suffered from hair loss.

A number of other conditions were found, with 63% of patients hit by fatigue or muscle weakness, 26% suffering from sleep difficulties and 23% experiencing anxiety or depression.

Those examined were discharged from Jin Yin-tan Hospital between January 7 and May 29, 2020 following a battle with coronavirus.

Six months after their recovery, they were asked about their quality of life and underwent physical examinations, a six-minute walking test and a blood test.

The study, published in the Lancet, discovered 76% of patients had recorded at least one long-term symptom, with women impacted more.

The authors wrote: ‘The aim of this study was to describe the long-term health consequences of patients with Covid-19 who have been discharged from hospital.

‘To our knowledge, this is the largest cohort study with the longest follow-up duration assessing the health consequences of adult patients discharged from hospital recovering from Covid-19.’

Patients arriving at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London (Picture: Mark Thomas/REX)

However, the long-term impact of the virus remains ‘largely unclear’, the authors note.

It comes after an investigation by Dr Natalie Lambert from Indiana University School of Medicine found 423 out of 1,567 former Covid patients experienced hair loss.

Hair loss can be related to stress and there can be a delay between the stressful event and the hair falling out.

Experts believe the diversion of energy and nutrients away from the follicles spurs telogen effluvium, or shedding on the scalp.

If caused by a medical condition, hair loss usually eventually stops and it grows back once the person has recovered.

However, research is underway to discover if Covid-19 will trigger a rise in alopecia areata, a condition that causes hair loss in small, round patches that may last for many years.

The NHS doesn’t currently list hair loss as a symptom of long Covid – but cites a number of others including fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, problems with memory and concentration and insomnia.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] 

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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