Could male hair loss be connected to heart problems?
Men who are losing their hair may be more liable to suffer with heart problems in comparison to those with a fuller head of hair, new research suggests. It seems it is those men suffering with severe hair loss on the top of their heads (vertex baldness) who could be at a higher risk, and not those with hair loss at the front, i.e. a receding hairline. Researchers in Japan conducted a thorough analysis of six previous studies from Europe and America that examined a possible connection between male baldness and coronary heart disease (CHD). The studies contained information on 36,990 men whose health was tracked for 11 years, and the researchers determined that five of the studies confirmed such a link. It was discovered that men who had severe baldness on the top of their head were an incredible 48% more likely to develop CHD. Those who only suffered with moderate and mild vertex baldness were 36% and 18% at risk respectively. However, men suffering with both frontal and vertex hair loss were 69% more likely to develop CHD compared to those who had a full head of hair still intact. Dr Kazuo Hara from the University of Tokyo said: “Cardiovascular risk factors should be reviewed carefully in men with vertex baldness, especially younger men. They should probably be encouraged to improve their cardiovascular risk profile. But interestingly, frontal baldness was not significantly associated with coronary heart disease.” The explanation between the connection is still uncertain, but researchers believe increased sensitivity to male hormones, insulin resistance and inflammation in blood vessels could be key factors behind the hair loss and heart disease correlation, although further studies need to be carried out in the future to explore the link. Another interesting aspect between the hair loss and CHD link is the fact Minoxidil (a popular hair loss treatment, contained in Regaine), was first produced to bring down high blood pressure – a severe risk factor of heart disease. Experts believe that Minoxidil works to dilate small blood vessels in the scalp, thus helping to boost blood flow and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. Other authors involved in the study said that in their meta-analysis, “vertex baldness was significantly associated with an increased risk of CHD among younger men as well as among all participants, and the association was dependent on the severity of baldness. Vertex baldness is more closely associated with systemic atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) than with frontal baldness.” However, Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, commented on the study, saying: “Although these findings are interesting, men who've lost their hair should not be alarmed by this analysis. It's more important to pay attention to your waistline than your hairline.”