Baldness May Spell Trouble for the Heart
the MPR take:
Alopecia may mean more than just hair loss for some patients. A recent study published in the International Journal of Cardiology posits that the condition may also be linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Researchers looked at 31 studies involving 29,254 subjects with alopecia and found that alopecia was linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease (OR 1.22), metabolic syndrome (OR 4.49), hyperinsulinemia (OR 1.97), and insulin resistance (OR 4.88). Patients with alopecia were also more likely to have higher cholesterol levels, higher triglycerides, and higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures than individuals without alopecia. While the association between baldness and coronary heart disease may have first been reported over 60 years ago, this study is the first to examine the relationship with cardiovascular risk factors. Researchers conclude that clinicians should factor in baldness as a potential risk factor for heart disease and that secondary prevention measures such as weight loss, smoking cessation, and other modifiable risk factors should be encouraged in these patients.