Several studies in the past have examined the relationship between balding and heart disease. In a study published in this month's British Medical Journal, researchers from Japan carefully examined all of the research studies to date focusing on the relationship between hair loss and heart disease.
What did they find?
The researchers looked at studies involving 36,690 balding men and found that men with hair loss in the top of the scalp or ‘vertex’, had an increased risk of heart disease. Interestingly, men with more severe balding had a greater risk of heart disease compared to men with lesser degrees of balding in the vertex. Men with hair loss in the front of the scalp did not demonstrate an increased risk of heart disease.
The exact reasons why balding men have increased heart disease risk is not clear but may be related to common mechanisms that lead to heart disease and hair loss including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, insulin resistance and increased inflammation in blood vessels.
These findings are important for the approximately 4 million Canadian men and 40 million American men affected with male balding.
Yamada et al. Male pattern baldness and its association with coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis. BMJ Open; 2013; e002537