Hair transplant surgeons often encourage patients to monitor their hair for signs of thinning, shedding, and loss. Keeping tabs on hair health is about more than preserving appearance, however. An ever-growing body of research indicates that hair health is intricately tied to overall mental, physical, and emotional wellness. From stress-related shedding to loss caused by overzealous styling, there are a number of well-documented ways in which lifestyle can negatively (or positively) affect hair health.
Most recently, researchers have identified a new connection between hair and heart health. A Japanese team of scientists has found a convincing correlation between hair loss and hypertension, a condition more commonly referred to as high blood pressure. The findings are the result of a study of nearly 38,000 men and women in which participants who suffered with hair loss, specifically pattern baldness, were about 32% more likely to also exhibit signs of hypertension (i).
Hair Loss & Health: Why Consulting a Physician is a Big Deal
Researchers say their findings are important for at least two reasons. First, the study provides a serious word of caution to young men and women who first begin to lose their hair. With such a strong correlation between hair loss and hypertension, individuals who experience hair loss are wise to consult a physician about their physical health. Hypertension causes blood pressure to rise, which also causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood. Over time, this can make a patient more prone to heart attack and stroke. Hypertension is also associated with arterial diseases, kidney disease, and shorter life expectancy. In addition to consulting a physician about these conditions, individuals who experience hair loss may also wish to have blood analysis conducted to assess hormonal health.
Second, researchers say this study, along with others, helps to spread awareness for the way in which hair can be an external barometer for internal health. Lead researcher Dr. Erling Thom explains (ii):
“Through our research with Nourkrin and female hair loss, we have discovered that there are many health issues for men and women that can actually be identified at an early stage through looking for hair loss and thinning hair […]”
In this way, monitoring one’s hair for signs of thinning or shedding can ultimately provide an early alert that a larger health issue exists. In turn, patients who understand the risks associated with hair loss are more likely to consult a physician when it occurs, prompting early diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Erling elaborates:
“Losing hair is one of these very early signs [that your body is under stress from a disease], which up till now has not been treated with the respect it deserves, as a precursor to a more serious condition.”
This health report has been produced by the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami. For additional information on our Institute, including hair loss evaluation and consultation services, readers are invited to contact our office directly at 1-877-443-9070.
(i) “Hair Loss Could Be a Sign of Hypertension.” Maidenhead Online. Accessed 1 June 2013.
(ii) See above.