Is androgenetic alopecia a risk for atherosclerosis?

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Abstract

Background

Several studies have demonstrated the presence of an association between androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with AGA and healthy controls by the incorporation of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) along with echocardiography (ECHO) and exercise electrocardiography (ExECG).

Methods

We performed a case-control study in 50 male patients with AGA and 31 age-matched healthy male controls with normal hair status. Both the AGA patients and controls with a history of diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, hypertension, cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, and renal failure were excluded. AGA was classified according to the Hamilton-Norwood scale. Serum lipids, serum hs-CRP, total testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate were examined in all study subjects. Carotid ultrasonography was used to measure the IMT of the common carotid arteries (CCA). ECHO and ExECG were performed in all subjects.

Results

IMT of the CCA was found to be significantly higher in patients with severe vertex pattern AGA when compared to patients with other patterns of AGA and healthy controls (P < 0.05). Hs-CRP in patients with any group of AGA was not significantly different from those healthy controls (P > 0.05). ECHO showed that cardiac structural and functional measures were in normal ranges. ExECG was also normal in all subjects.

Conclusion

Severe vertex pattern AGA should be considered to have an increased risk of subclinical atherosclerosis. For this reason, CCA IMT measurement can be recommended as a non-invasive and early diagnostic method.

Conflicts of interest

None declared.

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