Men under 40 years of age who are going bald and greying prematurely may be at five-fold risk of developing heart disease, finds a study.
The findings showed that both male-pattern baldness and premature greying were stronger risk factors than obesity, which was associated with a four-fold risk of early heart disease.
While diabetes mellitus, hypertension, family history of premature coronary artery disease, central obesity, higher body mass index, dyslipidaemia and smoking were predictors of coronary artery disease it was to a lesser extent than male-pattern baldness, premature greying, and obesity, the researchers said.
The young men with coronary artery disease were found with a higher prevalence of premature greying (50 per cent versus 30 per cent) and male-pattern baldness (49 per cent versus 27 per cent) compared to people without the condition.
“Premature greying and androgenic alopecia (male-pattern baldness) correlate well with vascular age irrespective of chronological age and are plausible risk factors for coronary artery disease,” said Sachin Patil, from the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in Gujarat.
For the study, presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) in Kolkata, the team included 790 men aged less than 40 years with coronary artery disease and 1,270 age-matched healthy men who acted as a control group.
After adjusting for age and other cardiovascular risk factors, male-pattern baldness was associated with a 5.6 times greater risk of coronary artery disease and premature greying was associated with a 5.3 times greater risk.
Male-pattern baldness and premature greying were the strongest predictors of coronary artery disease in men followed by obesity, which was associated with a 4.1 times greater risk.
“Our study found associations but a causal relationship needs to be established before statins can be recommended for men with baldness or premature greying,” noted Dhammdeep Humane, Cardiologist, from the hospital.