Coronary Artery Disease

Baldness Is a Stronger Predictor of CAD Than Obesity

Premature greying and male-pattern baldness are associated with a more than 5-fold increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) before the age of 40 years, according to a recent study presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India.

The study included 790 Indian men younger than 40 years of age with CAD and 1270 age-matched healthy controls. Participants underwent coronary angiogram, electrocardiogram, echocardiography, and blood tests, and had their clinical history taken.
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Using 24 different views of the scalp, the researchers determined participants’ male-pattern baldness scores from 0 (none) to 3 (severe). Additionally, hair whitening scores were determined based on the percentage of grey/white hairs from 1 (pure black) to 5 (pure white).

Compared with healthy controls, young men with CAD had a higher prevalence of premature greying (30% vs 50%, respectively) and male-pattern baldness (27% vs 49%, respectively). The researchers’ analyses showed that male-pattern baldness and premature greying were associated with a 5.6-fold and 5.3-fold greater risk for CAD, respectively, after adjusting for age and other cardiovascular risk factors.

In addition, the researchers found that male-pattern baldness and premature greying were the strongest predictors for CAD among young Indian men. This was followed by obesity, which was associated with a 4.1-fold greater risk for CAD.

Other cardiovascular risk factors included diabetes, hypertension, family history of premature CAD, central obesity, higher body mass index, dyslipidemia, and smoking. However, male-pattern baldness, premature greying, and obesity were stronger predictors of CAD compared with these other risk factors. 

“Baldness and premature greying should be considered risk factors for coronary artery disease,” the researchers concluded. “These factors may indicate biological, rather than chronological, age which may be important in determining total cardiovascular risk.”

“Men with premature greying and androgenic alopecia should receive extra monitoring for coronary artery disease and advice on lifestyle changes such as healthy diet, exercise, and stress management.”

—Melissa Weiss


Male-pattern baldness and premature greying associated with risk of early heart disease [press release]. Kolkata, IN: European Society of Cardiology; November 30, 2017. Accessed December 1, 2017.