For some years now there has been a suggestion that people with the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata – which leads to sudden, patchy hair loss – are more susceptible to strokes. The theory has roots in a study that took place in Taiwan between 2004 and 2011.
Now, however, the link between Alopecia Areata and strokes has been cast into doubt after a new study suggests the exact opposite: namely that people with Alopecia Areata actually have a decreased risk of having one.
The new findings stem from a retrospective analysis carried out in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the city’s Massachussets General Hospital on patients who had Alopecia Areata between 2000 and 2010.
According to the website Healio, 1,377 patients with Alopecia Areata were assessed during the 10 year study, alongside 4,131 ‘control’ patients who did not have the autoimmune disorder. Researchers state that patients with Alopecea Areata had decreased odds for developing stroke and also a trend toward decreased risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, the reduced rate was not deemed to be statistically significant.
Even so, the results seem baffling when compared to those of the Taiwanese study, which involved 3,231 people with Alopecia Areata or one if its more severe sister conditions Alopecia Universalis and Alopecia Totalis. In that study, people who had lost hair to one of these conditions were almost twice as likely to have a stroke as the 16,000-strong control group.
The Healio article quotes the Boston team as saying: “It is unclear why Alopecia Areata would be protective for developing stroke. Recent studies have found some improvement of Alopecia Areata with simvastatin/ezetimibe. Statins have been shown to have some effect on immune response as it has recently been shown to decrease vaccine effectiveness against medically attended acute respiratory illness.”
Statins, of course, are widely used to lower the levels of “bad cholesterol” in the blood, and can help prevent strokes. What the American authors appear to be saying is that Alopecia Areata patients may have been using statins as part of their treatment and this may have had the knock-on effect of lowering their chances of stroke. Confusingly, however, retired family doctor and former NASA Astronaut Surgeon Duane Graveline MD MPH has publicly stated that “Statin drugs contribute to human hair loss”.
Alopecia Areata is nothing if not a vexing condition, striking without warning and causing huge amounts of stress and anxiety to those it effects. While it sometimes clears up on its own – going on to disappear without a trace as if nothing ever happened – it can just as easily spread from a single patch to many, with multiple reoccurrences.
For that reason, many people with Alopecia Areata choose to seek out expert help as soon as possible, using bespoke Alopecia Areata treatment plans to help regrow their hair. Personalised courses featuring high strength minoxidil formulations from the range available at our in-clinic pharmacies have proven effective in treating Belgravia’s Alopecia Areata clients on many occasions, as can be seen in our extensive collection of Success Stories.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.