Study Links Baldness to Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

First Posted: Apr 04, 2013 07:51 AM EDT

One of the biggest problems surrounding men is baldness. Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition that affects almost half of the men over the age of 50.

A recent study published in the online journal BMJ Open reveals a close association between male pattern baldness and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. However, it was seen that only those with hair loss on the top/crown of the head are affected, and not those who experienced baldness at the front region.

The study also states that thinning of the hairline is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

For the current study, researchers focused on 850 studies from Medline and the Cochrane Library databases that were published between 1950 and 2012. Of these, they considered just a few studies that matched their criteria. The six studies that were analyzed involved 40,000 men, and were published from 1993-2008. Three studies were cohort, in which men were tracked for 11 years to keep a focus on their health.

On analyzing the studies, researchers confirmed that men under the age of 55-60 had similar male pattern baldness. Balding or extensively balding men were 44 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease. A similar result was seen in the studies that compared the health of bald men with those who were not balding.

The study highlighted that balding men were 70 percent more likely to develop heart disease, while younger men were 84 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease.

Researchers examined the degrees of baldness using a validated scale. Those who went bald on the extensive vertex had raised the chance of heart disease by 48 percent; moderate vertex on the other hand boosted the risk by 36 percent, and mild vertex by 18 percent.

"Our findings suggest that vertex baldness is more closely associated with systemic atherosclerosis than with frontal baldness. Thus, cardiovascular risk factors should be reviewed carefully in men with vertex baldness, especially younger men" who should "probably be encouraged to improve their cardiovascular risk profile," the researchers concluded.

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