Increased Risk of Autoimmune Diseases, Including Alopecia Areata, After COVID 19 Infection — Donovan Hair Clinic

The Chang et al study showed an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (aHR:2.98, 95% CI:2.78–3.20), ankylosing spondylitis (aHR:3.21, 95% CI:2.50–4.13), systemic lupus erythematosus (aHR:2.99, 95% CI:2.68–3.34), dermatopolymyositis (aHR:1.96, 95% CI:1.47–2.61), systemic sclerosis (aHR:2.58, 95% CI:2.02–3.28), Sjögren’s syndrome (aHR:2.62, 95% CI:2.29–3.00), mixed connective tissue disease (aHR:3.14, 95% CI:2.26–4.36), Behçet’s disease (aHR:2.32, 95% CI:1.38–3.89), polymyalgia rheumatica (aHR:2.90, 95% CI:2.36–3.57), vasculitis (aHR:1.96, 95% CI:1.74–2.20), psoriasis (aHR:2.91, 95% CI:2.67–3.17), inflammatory bowel disease (aHR:1.78, 95%CI:1.72–1.84), celiac disease (aHR:2.68, 95% CI:2.51–2.85), type 1 diabetes mellitus (aHR:2.68, 95%CI:2.51–2.85).

Tesch et al 2023

A cohort study from Germany showed similar findings to what was shown in the Chang study, namely that patients with COVID19 are at increased risk to develop autoimmune diseases. Tesch et al matched 641,704 patients with COVID-19 in a 1:3 manner with control patients without COVID19. Here, Tesch et al found a 42.63% higher likelihood of acquiring autoimmunity for patients who had suffered from COVID-19. These autoimmune diseases included conditions like Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren syndrome. The highest IRR was observed for autoimmune diseases of the vasculitis group. The risk of developing autoimmune diseases was higher in older individuals than younger individuals and was higher in those who had more severe COVID19 infection (such as being in hospital or the ICU) than those with less severe infection.

Specific rates included an increased risk of Hashimotos’ thyroiditis 1.42 (95 % CI 1.33-1.59), psoriasis 1.17 (95 % 1.09–1.26), rheumatoid arthritis 1.42 (95 % 1.30-1.56), Sjogren’s syndrome 1.44 (95 % 1.27–1.63), sarcoidosis 2.14 (95 % 1.73–2.65), alopecia areata 1.30 (95 % 1.05–1.61), vitiligo (95 % 1.36 1.05–1.77). The risk was particularly high in Behcet’s (95 % 2.42; 1.10–5.35), Wegener’s (95 % 2.51; 1.42–4.46 and Temporal Arteritis (95 % 1.63; 1.05–2.53).The risk of systemic lupus was not found to be increased in those with COVID 19 in this study.

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