High blood pressure: Could your hair loss be an early warning sign of the condition?
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High blood pressure is a common condition whereby the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high. This pressure gradually causes your arteries to harden and narrow, which means the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. Spotting early signs and possible links to the condition will ensure earlier treatment and a reduction in major health risks. Hair loss may be just one of those signs.
High blood pressure is also referred to as Hypertension and affects around 30 per cent of the population, but many people don’t realise they have it, as it rarely has obvious symptoms.
However, researchers have identified a possible link between hypertension and hair loss.
Scientists are unsure of the reasons behind the connection, but it’s possible that high blood pressure restricts blood supply to the hair roots.
Researchers in Japan have found that men going bald on the crown of the head were 52 percent more likely to have coronary artery disease than those with a full head of hair.
Lead researcher Dr Tomohide Yamada from the University of Tokyo said: “Cardiovascular risk factors should be assessed carefully in men with vertex baldness and they should be encouraged to improve their cardiovascular risk profile.
Baldness is usually caused when hair follicles, the tiny scalp cavities from which hair grows, become exposed to too much dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
This chemical is produced in the body by the male hormone testosterone and is important for development.
But if there is too much DHT in the blood, the follicles shrink, so the hair becomes thinner.
Health experts believe that baldness could be caused by poor blood supply to hair follicles, which causes them to die off.
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This link is said to be the reason why baldness occurs and could be a symptom of cardiovascular disease.
While scientists don’t yet know what might come first what is clear is that treating baldness will not protect the heart.
“We recommend a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes a low-fat diet, exercise and less stress,” suggested Dr Yamada.
Dr Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles said: “The real issue is not baldness having a direct effect on the heart, but that it’s a warning of possible heart disease.”
In fact, heart disease is not the only condition that may be revealed by men’s hairline.
Medical conditions, infectious diseases or ovarian tumours may be warning signs relating to hair loss.
An Australian study found two types of beta-blockers, metoprolol and propranolol, were linked to hair loss.
Another type of high blood pressure drug, known as angio-tensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, may also trigger thinning hair (possibly by causing the hair to be shed before the end of its natural lifecycle).
A study from the University of California highlighted a blood-thinning medication called low molecular weight heparin as a cause of hair loss.
Other symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
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