Are bald men more at risk to severe Covid-19 symptoms?

Are bald men more at risk to severe Covid-19 symptoms?

The short story is that bald men very well may be more at risk than men with a full head of hair! Research from Brown University, an Ivy League University in the USA, by Carlos Wambier M.D. has shown that this could actually be the case. This research is at a very early stage and so many believe more research and evidence is needed to back up this claim. Wambier is quoted as saying “baldness is a perfect predictor of severity” (of coronavirus) in the Daily Telegraph. For now, we are taking this statement with a pinch of salt.

Wambier makes this claim after conducted two separate studies into hospitalised Covid-19 sufferers in Spain. What the study found was that there were a disproportioned number of male patients with extensive hair loss. In the first study 29 of the 41 patients examined had Male Pattern Baldness. That’s a whopping 71%, which is much higher than the expected proportion given the age of the men examined. For context it is estimated that 30% at 30 years old, 40% at 40 years old and 50% at 50 years old will suffer from Male Pattern Baldness.

A second study was then conducted across 3 hospitals in Madrid, Spain that were treating Covid-19 patients. The study found that almost 80% of the 122 patients that were examined were suffering from Male Pattern Baldness. The research, that was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, definitely points to a correlation between Male Pattern Baldness and severe Covid-19 symptoms.
Wambier is quoted as saying “We think androgens or male hormones are definitely the gateway for the virus to enter our cells”. But why would men who suffer from Hair Loss be more susceptible than those that do not? Male Pattern Baldness is caused by the interaction between dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and Androgen receptors connected to our hair follicles. The genes that we inherit from our parents dictates our distribution of these androgen receptors. For some of us, we will have no androgen receptors and for others almost all the hairs on the top of our heads will have them. While DHT causes the hair loss, it is only when they interact with our androgen receptors. DHT on its own does not cause Hair Loss, and none sufferers of Male Pattern Baldness will be DHT in their blood stream. As all healthy men should have DHT levels and Male Pattern Baldness is only caused by our individual sensitivity to DHT, exactly how Hair Loss and severe Covid-19 symptoms could be correlated is interesting to say the least.

At this stage more research is needed and underway to try and understand the nature of the relationship between Male Pattern Baldness and Covid-19. We would also like to see research into whether women suffering from Female Pattern Baldness are also more likely to see more severe symptoms of Covid-19.

Researches are now looking into whether treatments that suppress the production of DHT could also be used to treat Covid-19. Finasteride is a Prescription-only medication that is used to treat Male Pattern Baldness and Benign Prostate Hyperplasia. In both cases it is Finasteride’s ability to inhibit the production of the DHT that works the drug work as a treatment. In terms of Male Pattern Baldness, preventing DHT means that it can’t interact with our androgen receptors and cause hair loss.

We will be keeping our eyes open in the hope of seeing some more data soon into why there is this correlation and the relationship between it. As soon more information is available we will be sure to bring it to you!

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