Multiple studies have investigated the relationship between androgenetic alopecia and cardiovascular disease, including studies that have identified elevated rates of cardiovascular disease in patients with vertex hair loss, vertex and frontal hair loss, early onset hair loss and rapidly progressive hair loss. In addition, increased risks for hypertension, excess weight, abnormal lipids, insulin resistance, carotid atheromatosis and death from diabetes or heart disease have been reported in this population. Studies investigating an association between androgenetic alopecia and metabolic syndrome have yielded conflicting findings. Distinct guidelines for the detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease in individuals with androgenetic alopecia have not been established. In addition to the traditional risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, included in the definition of the metabolic syndrome, several skin diseases have recently been shown to be markers of conditions relating to the patient’s overall health. Physicians should be aware of the possible connection between relatively frequent skin diseases, such as psoriasis and hair growth disruptions, including androgenetic alopecia and female pattern hair loss and cardiovascular disease. This review is concentrated on the association between insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, abdominal fat, cardiovascular disease and hair growth disruptions as an early indicator of these underlying conditions. We have investigated the importance of robust primary clinical treatment measures to address the manifestation of hair loss due to a disruption caused by metabolic syndrome as an effective means to alleviate further stress induced hair loss, which can exacerbate the underlying cause.
Alopecia is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, and it appears that there is a relationship between the degree of hair loss and the risk of coronary heart disease, meaning, the greater the severity of alopecia, the greater the risk of coronary heart disease. Alopecia is also associated with an increased risk of hypertension, hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome as well as elevated serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It has not been definitively established whether patients with androgenetic alopecia have a higher cardiovascular risk or prevalence of metabolic syndrome, and results of recent studies indicate that androgenetic alopecia patients do not show differences in insulin resistance or the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. However, androgenetic alopecia patients do show a higher cardiovascular risk, characterised by increased inflammatory parameters and Lp(a) levels. Data collected from female populations are scarce, but it would be interesting to extend our clinical knowledge with this type of data to further our understanding of the connection between androgenetic alopecia, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk. The divergence in results from different studies done in this context may simply be a result of the composition of the study populations with respect to age, gender, severity of alopecia, sample size and perhaps ethnicity. In this connection, a large group of androgenetic alopecia patients is necessary, including different representative groups and varying severities of alopecia. Furthermore, it is recommended that all women and men with androgenetic alopecia be thoroughly examined and that lifestyle changes are made early on to reduce the risk of various problems associated with metabolic syndrome, since androgenetic alopecia can be considered an early marker of metabolic syndrome.
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