Androgenetic alopecia, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance: Is there any association? A case-control study

Indian Dermatol Online J. 2014 Jul;5(3):276-81. doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.137776.


Context: Although several previous studies have investigated the association of metabolic syndrome (MS) and insulin resistance (IR) with androgenetic alopecia (AGA), the results have been inconsistent.

Aim: We attempted to assess the presence of MS and IR in patients with AGA. This may help to detect if AGA can be considered as a clue for underlying serious systemic diseases.

Materials and methods: One hundred male patients with stages III-VII AGA, in Hamilton-Norwood classification, and 100 normal, gender- and age-matched control subjects were included. Anthropometric measures, blood pressure, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured for the all participants. The presence of MS and IR was evaluated.

Results: There were statistically significant differences regarding mean values of body weight (P < 0.001), height (P = 0.002), waist circumference (P < 0.001), body mass index (P < 0.001), systolic (P < 0.001), and diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.001), fasting glucose (P < 0.001), triglycerides (P < 0.001), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P < 0.01), fasting insulin (P = 0.02) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (P < 0.001) between cases and controls. A statistically significant association was found between AGA and MS (P = 0.002) and between AGA and IR (P < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that waist circumference (>102 cm) was the most significant risk factor for developing MS. It increased the risk of MS by 1.25-folds (95% CI = 1.10-1.42, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Our results support the recommendation for assessing MS and IR in all young males with stage III or higher AGA. Early intervention is critical to reduce the risk and complications of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life.

Keywords: Androgenetic alopecia; cardiovascular disease; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome.