Genetic Hair Loss and "Metabolic Syndrome" - New studies on an important connection

By Dr Jeff Donovan, Canadian Hair Loss Foundation

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of medical issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and excess fat around the waist. Essentially these are the factors that are known to increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke.


Metabolic syndrome and Genetic Hair Loss

It's been known for a while that individuals with androgenetic alopecia "AGA"  (also called male pattern balding and female pattern hair loss) are at increased risk to develop metabolic syndrome.  Researchers from China recently reviewed all of the studies relating to the issue. They identified four case-control studies and 2 cross-sectional studies including 950 AGA subjects and 3056 control subjects.


Study Results and Conclusion

The study showed that taken all together, AGA was significantly associated with development of metabolic syndrome - in fact the risk was raised about three times.

There is good evidence now that men and women with AGA (especially early AGA are at risk to develop metabolic syndrome.  We urgently need to protocols ways to screen patients and identify those at highest risk. 



1. Wu Dx et al. [Association between androgenetic alopecia and metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis]. 2014 Sep 25;43(5):597-601

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