Hair loss found to correlate with cardiovascular disease
The hair of Oulu resident Harri Rautio began to thin a few years ago, when he was less than 20 years old. The hair loss did not come as a surprise, as his two brothers and his father were also prematurely bald.
"When I went into the army I shaved my head completely, and I have stuck to that. Before going into the army, the hair loss was annoying, but not anymore. I would probably keep shaving my head even if I were growing hair."
Meanwhile, in her research for her doctoral dissertation, Päivi Hirsso has found that baldness correlates with cardiovascular disease.
"Hair loss is a sign that there is something wrong in the body. It seems to be one clear risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease."
Hirsso found a very clear difference in the illness rate among young bald men with large amounts of abdominal fat and those of the same age with large abdomens and a full head of hair.
"Bald and overweight men under the age of 35 were much more likely to have a low-level inflammation than those with normal hair. The inflammation is linked with cardiovascular disease.
Hirsso says that being overweight might accelerate the balding process.
However, she emphasises that intense sports, or exemplary diet will not prevent baldness.
"The tendency to go bald is so strongly hereditary, and dependent on hormonal factors, that there are no ways to prevent it. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile for a bald person to reduce the emergence of later risks through a healthy lifestyle."
Harri Rautio is not afraid of the health risks linked with balding.
Rautio, who works in a sporting goods shop, plays floorball, tennis, and badminton.
Päivi Hirsso recommends that those who have gone bald should be monitored closely by the age of 50. At about that age, they should also seek to bring their weight down to normal levels.
Hirsso says that for women, slimming down could work as a way to fight hair loss. In women, the loss of hair is clearly linked with abdominal fat and insulin sensitivity.
"Many women come to see doctors to complain about a loss of hair. They should be encouraged to lose weight.
Hair loss also has an impact on men's social lives. "However, with young men the impact is undoubtedly small, if the man is otherwise slim and muscular", Hirsso notes.
For her study, Hirsso used a sampling of about 4,000 people nationwide, as well as about 700 men and women in Oulu.