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 n 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 later, 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, while this number was higher in women.
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.’
However, the long-term impact of the virus remains ‘largely unclear’, the authors noted.
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 stops or 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
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