The usual way for men to lose hair is through male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia in which the hairline starts receding from the temples to form a “m” shape gradually. This is nothing to do with illness or medications but is linked to plain genetics and hormones. But Mister, if recently you have noticed thinning of hair over your crown or a bald spot forming, then it might be a matter of concern. Also known as vertex hair loss, the reasons for this could be many, including high blood pressure. So if you are suffering from hypertension, the gradual thinning of hair at the top of the head, could be very well attributed to the same.
Hypertension itself comes with its entire baggage of risks including heart disease, damage to kidneys, damage to the brain, but now, hair loss also seems to be added to the list. Studies conducted over the years have now established a correlation between hypertension and hair loss. In one such study published in the year 2007, it was found that hypertension was strongly associated with male pattern baldness. In this study, 250 men were interviewed between the ages of 35 and 65. After controlling for other variables like age, high cholesterol, and smoking, it was found that men with a blood pressure reading of above 120 (systolic) and 80 (diastolic), had twice the risk of hair loss as compared to others.
Although it is not very clear why people with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of hair loss, a probable reason is high blood pressure results in damaging the cells of the arteries’ inner lining. Over time the arteries become less elastic, thereby constricting the flow of blood to all the organs. So this, in turn, deprives the hair follicles of the essential nutrients that they require to grow. This might lead to the weakening of hair shafts, eventually leading to their falling out.
Also, not only high blood pressure but medications used to control high blood pressure effectively, might lead to an increased risk of hair loss. Here is a list of medicines used to control high blood pressure, that might also cause hair loss as one of its side effects
- Cholesterol Management medications
- Ace Inhibitors
Before starting any of these medicines, you can speak to your doctor about the possible side effects of these. If they increase hair loss, your doctor can suggest alternative medication for the same. But never stop any medications without asking your doctor, because your hair, although it is important, can never be more important than your life or your health.
Now coming to heart disease, hypertension or high blood pressure if not treated at the right time, increases your risk for heart disease as well, like coronary artery disease, enlarged left heart, and heart failure. Various studies conducted have linked heart disease to hair loss as well. For example, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in the year 2000, analysed health records of 22000 male doctors. This was done over 11 years, in which many aspects of their health were examined. It was found that men with mild balding had a 23% increased risk of heart disease, while those who were completely bald had a 36% increased risk of the same.
So this brings us to another aspect where your hair loss could also be an indicator of possible hidden heart problems or high blood pressure, especially if it is a vertex type of hair loss. So in case you see a sudden hair loss at the crown or signs of balding at the top of the head, it’s advisable to immediately seek medical help, to rule out any possibilities of developing heart disease.
Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP