Background: Several previous studies have investigated the association between factors related to metabolic syndrome, which is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, and androgenetic alopecia (AGA). However, the results of these studies have been inconsistent.
Objectives: To determine if there is an association between metabolic syndrome and AGA after adjustment for potential confounders.
Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in Tainan, Taiwan. A total of 740 subjects aged 40-91 years participated in the survey between April and June 2005. The Norwood classification was used to assess the degree of hair loss. Information on components of metabolic syndrome together with other possible risk factors was collected.
Results: A statistically significant association was found between AGA and the presence of metabolic syndrome [odds ratio (OR) 1.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-2.74] as well as between AGA and the number of fulfilled metabolic syndrome components (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.03-1.42) after controlling for age, family history of AGA and smoking status. Among metabolic syndrome components, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.41-3.95; P = 0.001) was revealed as the most important factor associated with AGA.
Conclusions: Our population-based study found a significant association between AGA and metabolic syndrome; among the components of metabolic syndrome, HDL-C was found to be of particular importance. This finding may have significant implications for the identification of metabolic syndrome in patients with moderate or severe AGA. Early intervention for metabolic syndrome is critical to reduce the risk and complications of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life.