heart diseaseA new line of research has suggested that men who lose their hair early on in life are at an increased risk of heart problems. The study was conducted with almost two thousand Indian male participants who were less than forty years old. They found that men who experienced male pattern baldness along with premature grey hairs were at a higher risk of heart disease. Male pattern baldness is actually a result of an increased sensitivity to the androgen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Therefore men with male pattern baldness could have different responses to androgens in other parts of their body which could influence the risk of heart disease.

Study Findings

After the researchers made adjustments for age and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, they concluded that male pattern baldness can put men at a 5.6 times higher risk of developing heart disease. Men who experienced premature greying had a 5.3 times greater risk. The principal investigator of the study called for baldness and premature greying to be considered as risk factors for coronary heart disease. This is because these factors could potentially indicate biological age, which is important for determining the total cardiovascular risk. The lead author of the study has also advised that men who have premature greying and hair loss should receive extra monitoring for heart diseases and also advice for healthier lifestyle changes.  It's important to note too that it's not a causal link but rather an indicator of a problem. Since the report was released, more cardiologists have called for further research in this area.

Study Limitations

However, as the study only used Southeast Asian Indian men, larger studies with participants of different ethnic backgrounds should be carried out to see whether this phenomenon is more widespread. Another concern is that there has not been a sufficient amount of research into grey haired women.

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By Ian Watson

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