Does getting grey just break your heart? Do you miss those luscious locks of thick hair that caused all those bad hair days? New research out of India shows that in a trial of almost 2,000 men under 40, having coronary artery disease (CAD) – the blockages in the heart’s arteries that are a precursor to heart attacks – was associated with greyer, balder men.
In fact, premature baldness and premature greying were more associated with CAD than both obesity and diabetes in their study. We’re talking about over 5 times the risk! What does that mean? Well, research studies like this are retrospective, meaning that they can’t tell you whether one thing causes another. They can only say whether something is happening more than it would if it were just by chance. Here, they concluded 2 things:
- Men under 40 with male-pattern baldness had 5.6 times the risk of having CAD than those without baldness.
- Men under 40 with early greying of their hair had 5.3 times the risk of having CAD than those without.
To be clear, just because their data showed that early baldness and greying are associated with increased risk of CAD doesn’t mean that if you’re grey and/or bald, you’re definitely going to die of a heart attack at a young age. These conclusions can simply mean that the same things that contribute to CAD also contribute to these dreaded hair problems.
There are likely many other things that contribute to losing your hair, including your genes. The take-home message from this is that if you’re young and have grey hair or no hair at all, consider it a reason to think about your overall risk of heart disease. We may not know how to cure baldness, but we do know a lot of proven ways to reduce your risk of heart attacks. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk today!
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