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New study links premature baldness with increased heart disease risk

Thursday 14th December 2017
Men who go grey or bald prematurely may be more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, new research suggests. Image: mraoraor via iStock
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Men who start to go bald relatively early on in their lives may be at greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease and subsequent heart attacks, according to a new study.

Scientists from the European Society of Cardiology carried out research involving more than 2,000 Indian men, which found that males who went bald or grey prematurely were much more likely to receive a diagnosis for coronary artery disease than their counterparts who had a full head of hair.

A total of 790 of the participants had coronary artery disease, while the others were classed as healthy. Each individual's levels of male pattern baldness were measured, as well as how white or grey their hair was beginning to turn.

Even though the number of men with heart disease was much smaller, 50 per cent of these males were found to have gone grey prematurely, compared to just 30 per cent of the 'healthy' control group.

What's more, among the men with coronary artery disease, almost half (49 per cent) were suffering from premature male pattern baldness in comparison to just over one-quarter (27 per cent) of those in the other group of participants.

Overall, this meant that it was 5.6 times more likely for men with cardiovascular disease to be bald.

Commenting on the research, Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, told BBC News: "This study suggests that identifying men with premature hair loss and greying may help identify those with an increased risk of developing heart disease.

"However, this isn't something that people can change, whereas you can modify your lifestyle and risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. These are far more important things to consider."

Hair loss can be genetic though, so knowing they are potentially predisposed to heart disease could encourage some men to make changes to their lifestyles in a bid to lower their risk of suffering from cardiovascular problems in the future.

Written by Mathew Horton

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