Winter has an insidious way of making millions of us feel under the weather, and while the temptation for many is to simply grin and bear those coughs, colds and sniffles, anecdotal evidence about how chronic bronchitis can lead to hair loss suggests we should all be taking better care of ourselves.
Medical discussion forums such as dailystrength.org regularly feature postings from people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who have noticed their hair falling out. There has been some suggestion that the disease has a negative effect on blood circulation due to the associated lack of oxygen. This, says the theory, deprives the scalp of nutrients necessary for healthy hair growth.
Hair enters resting phase
If this is indeed the case, the resultant hair loss condition would likely be Telogen Effluvium, which happens when hairs enter the resting phase as the result of sudden or severe stress to the body. In many cases the condition is temporary and hair will start growing again in approximately three months. It can, however, progress to Diffuse Thinning – a chronic version of the condition which lasts a minimum of twelve months – but treatment for Chronic Telogen Effluvium is available to help encourage regrowth.
Another possibility is that the lack of oxygen to the scalp could trigger or exacerbate existing genetic hair loss – more commonly known as Female Hair Loss or Male Pattern Baldness. These two conditions are treatable, and many thousands of people have been able to reverse their hereditary thinning by following a bespoke hair loss treatment course.
A third reason why COPD may lead to excessive shedding is because some of the prescription medications that are commonly used to treat it list hair loss as a possible side-effect.
One such drug is prednisone, a drug similar to cortisone which can reduce inflammation in the body. The hair loss condition that it is most likely to trigger would also be Telogen Effluvium, the inciting incident this time being the “shock” to the body of taking a new medication.
Causes and symptoms of COPD
The deeper you delve into COPD the more hair loss crops up – the disease is often caused by smoking and/or environmental pollutants, both of which are frequently linked to hair loss. In fact America’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute lists smoking as the leading cause of COPD.
Writing on dailystrength.org, one COPD patient says: “I have lost so much hair I now wear wigs out of the house. I lost mine mostly on the top of my head. Sorry, but hair loss is a side effect of many of our medications.”
If your “winter cold” seems to be worse than normal it may be wise not to plough on as normal and get yourself checked out instead. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, excess mucus, a cough and lack of energy – all of which could possibly mistaken for a seasonal virus.
If COPD is diagnosed, medications can help, and if increased shedding does turn out to be an issue, a visit to a specialist hair loss clinic will bring you up to speed on the options currently available.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.