There exists a proven association between male-pattern
baldness and serious cardiovascular events, but the mechanism of action
Now, a new study has shown a strikingly increased
risk of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin-resistance-associated
disorders in men with early onset of male-pattern baldness (alopecia),
supporting the theory that early
male-pattern baldness could be a clinical marker of insulin resistance.
Researchers performed a practice-based case-control
study on 154 subjects (aged 19-50 years) with early-onset male-pattern
baldness (onset prior to 35 years of age) and age-matched controls.
Men were only selected whose hair loss was significant,
using an accepted classification method.
Information on diagnoses of chronic diseases and
data on current medication, weight and height, fasting total cholesterol,
triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and blood glucose were collected.
- Blood insulin levels were measured.
Researchers looked at the following insulin-resistance-associated
Elevated lipids (HDL cholesterol <0.9 mmol/L,
triglycerides > 1.7 mmol/L, or lipid-lowering medication)
Abnormal glucose metabolism (fasting blood glucose
> 6.7 mmol/L twice or antidiabetic medication)
High body-mass index
- Elevated systolic blood pressure (> 160 mm Hg).
A "cluster" was considered to be present
if at least three of the four variables were simultaneously positive.
The risks for the following were
all found to be elevated for the alopecia group:
Nearly 5 times
more likely to have clustered risk factors
Hyperinsulinemia risk was increased
was increased nearly 2-fold
Severe obesity was increased nearly
Use of cholesterol
lowering medication was increased more than 4-fold
- Use of blood pressure or diabetic medication
was more than double
Researchers maintain that there findings " ... raise
the question whether insulin
resistance could be a pathophysiological mechanism or promoting factor
in early androgenetic alopecia, which could, in turn, be an early marker
of insulin resistance."
In addition, they suggest that men with early-onset
male-pattern baldness should be screened for insulin resistance and other
cardiovascular disease risk factors.
30, 2000; 356: 1165-1166.