Why bald men are more prone to severe COVID-19

Why bald men are more prone to severe COVID-19
Why bald men are more prone to severe COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus could be more common in bald men due to factors related to testosterone levels, new research has shown.

Testosterone produces a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for baldness.

The same hormone could also make people more susceptible to COVID-19.

A sign leading people is seen outside an NSW Health Pop-up COVID-19 clinic at Lakemba Uniting Church on October 15, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Getty)

“Regarding baldness, studies in Spain show that bald men were overrepresented in relation to serious COVID outcomes,” said Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease expert today.

“That may sound strange, but there is a biological basis for it, because bald men have high levels of dihydrotestosterone, which, by the way, helps COVID get into cells.”

A reverse study conducted in Italy found that hospitalized men with prostate cancer who took an anti-testosterone for cancer were four times less likely to be infected.

People with certain blood types may also be more prone to having severe symptoms when infected with COVID-19.

“With blood groups, it looks like blood group O protects better against COVID and A is heavier,” said Prof. Senanayake.

“It could mean that blood type O is less likely to cause clotting.”

Researchers are also starting to identify new and peculiar symptoms of the virus, including blisters on the feet and loss of taste.

“The loss of smell can occur with some viral infections that affect the upper respiratory tract and the coronavirus, as one group may be responsible,” said Prof. Senanayake.

“It tends to affect the olfactory nerve, which is your nerve for smell.

“It can also cause a lot of inflammation in the nose and that can affect the smell.”

A patient being treated for COVID-19 in Wuhan reported a change in his skin color. However, Prof. Senanayake said this had more to do with the antibiotics that are against the virus itself.

“Antibiotics, while wonderful at treating infection, all have a side effect and everyone knows how to get diarrhea and an itchy rash, and there can always be weird things like a change in skin color,” he said.

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