Background and objectives: The relationship between androgenetic alopecia and cardiovascular disease has been studied by some authors in the past, although the results of epidemiological studies have been variable. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and carotid arteriosclerosis in patients with early-onset androgenetic alopecia.
Patients and methods: Seventy men were studied, 35 with diagnosis of early-onset (before 35 years of age) androgenetic alopecia and 35 control subjects who consulted for other skin conditions. In both groups, the criteria for metabolic syndrome according to the Adult Treatment Panel-III were studied (obesity, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and blood glucose), presence of atheromatous plaques, and carotid intima-media thickness using Doppler ultrasonography. Other cardiovascular risk factors, hormones, and acute-phase reactants were also analyzed.
Results: Criteria for metabolic syndrome were met by 57.1% of the patients with androgenetic alopecia compared to 14.3% of the controls (P<0001). Thirty-four percent of the patients with androgenetic alopecia had atheromatous plaques compared to 8.6% of the controls (P=.018). In an independent correlation analysis, abdominal obesity, systolic blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood glucose levels were significantly greater among patients with androgenetic alopecia. Testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin levels were similar in the 2 groups whereas insulin and aldosterone levels were higher in patients with androgenetic alopecia (P<05).
Conclusions: The high frequency of metabolic syndrome and carotid atheromatous plaques in patients with androgenetic alopecia suggests cardiovascular screening should be done to enable early detection of individuals at risk and initiation of preventive treatment before cardiovascular disease becomes established.