Bald men with graying hair at higher risk to develop heart disease

According to the latest research conducted at the U.N. Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in Ahmedabad, India, men with male pattern baldness and premature grey hair under the age of forty are five times more likely to develop heart disease as compared to those who had normal hair growth.

This comes as a surprise as greying hair and baldness are considered more of a cosmetic thing than a serious health risk. The most important and well-known risk factors for developing heart disease include obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, poorly controlled cholesterol levels and family history. The research findings presented at the 69th conference of the Cardiological Society of India, Kolkata, India, suggest that premature greying hair and androgenic alopecia should be added to the list of risk factors as the level of threat they pose is higher than obesity.

The research study led by Dr Kamal Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Cardiology, U.N. Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in Ahmedabad, India, compared 2060 men <40 years old with coronary heart disease (n=790) with age-matched healthy controls (n=1270).

The health of the participants was assessed at the beginning of the study using male checkups, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, coronary angiograms and blood tests and devising methods to score baldness and hair graying. Male pattern baldness was assessed and scored after analysis of 24 views of the scalp. Premature hair graying was assessed using a hair whitening score. The study also analyzed markers of coronary heart disease such as angiographic lesions.

The study investigated participants’ health in the context of the risk factors and analyzed the link between a person’s baldness, prematurely greying hair as well as their angiographic lesions. Preliminary analysis suggests that 50% of participants with coronary heart disease had grey hair and male pattern baldness compared to only 30% of men who had grey hair and 27% who were bald in the healthy control group. While obesity increased the risk of developing heart disease by 4 times, male pattern baldness and prematurely greying hair elevated the level of risk by 5.6 and 5.3 times respectively.

Dr. Dhammdeep Humane, first author of the study and a senior cardiology resident at the U.N. Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre added, “Our study found associations but a causal relationship needs to be established before statins can be recommended for men with baldness or premature graying.”