Is it possible that there is a direct link between hair loss and heart disease? Could one of these diseases be causing the other or is there one source causing both?
These and other questions have been brought to light in several recent studies.
At the University of Tucson, little difference was found in heart attack risk for men who were balding and men who were not. It has, however, been suggested that hair loss is related to an increase in androgens. These hormones may also affect the development of coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Another, previous study, did find that vertex baldness (hair loss at the crown) was indeed strongly linked to the risk for heart attack. That study found that greater hair loss directly correlated with a greater risk for heart attack.
Researchers at Tucson decided to look further into the matter. They looked at 5056 men between the ages of 52 and 75 years old. Of those men, 767 had already suffered a heart attack.
• One third of the men had little or no hair loss.
• Thirteen percent had frontal baldness.
• Fifty-four percent had vertex baldness
The study showed that men who were experiencing hair loss at the front of their heads were 28% more likely to have had a heart attack. Mild vertex baldness only indicated a 2% greater risk. According to a Reuters Health article at Yahoo News, “men with moderate vertex baldness were 40 percent more likely to have had a heart attack, while risk was increased by 18 percent for men with severe vertex baldness.”
The study conducted by the University of Tucson concluded that male pattern baldness does not provide a means to determine risk of heart attacks.
In the end, many questions are still unanswered. While there does appear to be some link between hair loss and heart disease, that link remains unclear. The Tucson researchers noted that “If the types of baldness seen in the current study are indeed due to high androgen levels, it’s likely that the hormone does not increase heart attack or atherosclerosis risk.”
You can read the full Reuters Health article on Yahoo News at the following link:
You can find detailed information about the hormonal causes of hair loss and related conditons at the American Hair Loss Association.