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The Latest and Greatest on Male Pattern Baldness

Approximately 70% of American males will have some degree of hair loss by the time they reach 35 years of age. By 50 years of age, around 85% of males in the United States will have a significant amount of hair loss. Approximately one quarter of American men will start losing hair before they turn 21. At the present time, it is estimated that 35 million men have some degree of male pattern baldness, which is defined as loss of hair on the crown, the top part of the head (Smart Living Network, 2013).

Recently, ScienceDaily published two articles discussing several studies which were conducted related to different degrees of male baldness. These studies linked this common condition to both coronary heart disease and prostate cancer.

Studies Show that Male Pattern Baldness Causes Risk for Heart Disease

Baldness is thought to be linked to an elevated risk of coronary heart disease if it occurs on the top of the head, as opposed to the front, according to evidence published in an online medical journal. Researchers Yamada, Hara, & Umematsu, (2013) poured through various medical databases looking for documented research on male pattern baldness and coronary heart disease.

The investigators actually found as many as 850 studies, published between the years 1950 and 2012, which had possibilities. In the end, only six met all the necessary eligibility requirements and were included in their analysis. Pertinent studies took place between the years 1993 to 2008, involving a little less than 40,000 male subjects. Three of the six studies tracked the health of balding males for a minimum of 11 years. Results indicated that men who had lost the majority of their hair were more than 30% more likely to get coronary artery disease than individuals who kept all of their hair.

When research was narrowed down to males under the ages of 55 to 60, similar correlations were seen. Balding or very balding men were actually 44% more prone to eventually becoming candidates for coronary artery disease. The other three studies were also examined. When researchers compared the cardiovascular health of individuals, who were either bald or balding, with men who were not losing their hair definite similarities to the first three studies were seen.

Young Bald Men at Greater Risk for Heart Disease, Studies Say


With the latter three studies, data confirmed that balding men were a striking 70% more prone to suffer from heart disease. Younger aged subjects were actually 85% at greater risk. Upon examination of the data, it became apparent that risks for coronary artery disease ultimately depended on the severity of a man’s baldness. However, this was only true if the baldness occurred on the vertex or top of the head.

Extreme baldness on the top of the head elevated risks for coronary heart disease by as much as 50% while moderate male pattern baldness and mild cases raised a man’s risks by 36% and 18% respectively. Interestingly, a receding hairline seemed to pose very little risk.

Theories on Why Crown Baldness Linked with Heart Disease

Study authors Yamada, Hara, & Umematsu (2013) had several theories as to the reasons for the correlation between male pattern baldness and heart disease. These included the possibilities that baldness could be an indication of a man having chronic inflammation, resistance to insulin, or an elevated sensitivity to testosterone. All of these conditions are directly or indirectly linked to risks for cardiovascular disease.

The studies’ conclusions were that crown baldness is more closely linked with heart disease than a receding hairline. This means that cardiovascular risk factors should be discussed with men who have male pattern baldness, especially younger males who have the opportunity to make healthy lifestyle changes early on.

Prostate Cancer Linked to Early Onset Baldness in African-America Males

Baldness has been associated with an elevated risk for the development of prostate cancer in African-American males. The chances of suffering from advanced prostate cancer increased when the males were younger as well as depending on the type of baldness. The results of this particular study were published in an American cancer research journal.
 
Researcher Zeigler-Johnson and colleagues (2013) used 318 male participants with prostate cancer and 219 control subjects who took part in the study between the years of 1998 and 2010. All were African-Americans with various degrees of baldness. Data was analysed using the classifications of no baldness, frontal baldness and vertex baldness as well as other medical history. African-American males were used as study subjects since they are already in a higher risk group for developing prostate cancer. They actually have more than double the chances of dying from prostate cancer than the rest of the American male population.

Until this specific study was conducted, no other research studies had ever been published using baldness as a possible risk factor for prostate cancer in African-American males. It was discovered that any degree of baldness correlated to a 70% greater risk of having prostate cancer. African-American males with frontal baldness, but no vertex baldness, were at least twice as likely to suffer from advanced prostate cancer.

This particular link was even more compelling when the men received their prostate cancer diagnosis when they were younger than 60. Younger males with frontal baldness and prostate cancer also tended to have a high PSA level when given their diagnosis. Since it appears that beginning to go bald at a younger age may be a risk factor for prostate cancer in African-American males, there is also an excellent potential to use this information to aid in earlier diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Final Thoughts

Any male with male pattern or frontal baldness should consult with a health care provider to see if he is at an increased risk for either coronary heart disease or prostate cancer. Today, as a result of doctor shortages in the U.S., many people use the services of an online doctor to receive medical advice. There are many doctors to choose from on the Internet who are qualified to begin the process of diagnosing many health conditions. 

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