Bald men seem to be at higher risk of heart disease, say Japanese researchers after poring over old studies. Their finding applies only to those who have lost hair on top, at the crown, as opposed to those with receding hairlines, reports Bloomberg. The greater the baldness, the greater the risk. "We thought this is a link, but not as strong as many other known links such as smoking, obesity, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure," one of the University of Tokyo researchers tells the BBC.
Why? That part is unclear, but one theory is that some of the same factors associated with baldness—such as heightened sensitivity to testosterone and resistance to insulin—are also linked to cardiovascular trouble. The baldness, then, could be a visible sign of trouble within. One analysis found that bald men were about 30% more likely to have heart trouble, while another put the figure at 70%. It may sound alarming, but "much more research is needed to confirm any link between male pattern baldness and an increased risk of coronary heart disease," says a cardiac expert with the British Heart Foundation. "In the meantime, it's more important to pay attention to your waistline than your hairline." (Read more baldness stories.)