High blood pressure is a health condition that many people worry about as they get older. It seems like everything in life affects your blood pressure — from what you eat to your lifestyle choices.
Not only is high blood pressure a trigger for heart disease, but some suggest it also causes hair loss. But how much of that is true? To unravel facts from fiction, read on to learn more about how high blood pressure affects hair loss and how to help combat thinning hair in the long term.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, AKA hypertension, is a common condition in which the continued force of blood supply against the artery walls can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, and other health conditions.
Blood pressure count is determined by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the level of resistance the blood flow meets in your arteries. The harder your heart has to work to pump the blood through narrow arteries, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure.
"Blood is pumped throughout our body to provide oxygen and nutrients to all of our organs and tissues," explained Dr. Jessica Simpkins, an MD based in Norwich, Connecticut. "The blood returns to the heart and lungs to exchange carbon dioxide for fresh oxygen. In order for the blood from the heart to reach the farthest parts of our body (like our toes), blood travels through our arteries with enough pressure to reach its destination."
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Many believe that weight is the absolute indicator of high blood pressure, but that's not always the case. Anyone of any size can have an increased cardiovascular risk profile if they aren't living a healthy lifestyle. You're at increased risk of coronary heart disease and weak heart health if you:
- Ingest excessive salt during meals
- Rarely exercise
- Drink too much coffee
- Drink too much alcohol
- Are overweight
- Are over 65
- Struggle with consistent stress
- Have consistently disturbed sleeping patterns
- Live in poverty
- Have family members who struggle with coronary artery disease
- Are of Black, Caribbean, or Black African decent
Making heart-healthy lifestyle changes can positively impact your health overall and, in turn, reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
Is There a Link Between High Blood Pressure and Hair Loss?
Several studies have linked cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and thinning hair in recent years, but the results are inconclusive — especially for women.
A receding hairline is a fact of life for many men. According to the American Hair Loss Association, by the age of 35 two out of every three American men will experience some hair loss, and by 50, approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. In addition, male pattern baldness is often hereditary and tricky to treat.
In 2013, Japanese researchers found that men who had crown-top hair loss, or vertex baldness, were 52% more likely to have heart disease than those with their hair still intact. The researchers found a 22% higher risk in men with receding hairline but no other hair loss, which isn't a statistically significant result. Research linking hair loss and high blood pressure in women is limited.
How High Blood Pressure Medication Can Affect Hair Loss
While the high blood pressure hair loss connection is tenuous, certain factors are worth considering. In fact, it might not be high blood pressure that's making your hair fall out. Blood pressure medications could be the cause, with hair loss as the effect.
ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers are typically used to lower hypertension. Unfortunately, they have been associated with temporary hair loss, but only in a small percentage of patients.
"This type of hair [loss] where the cause is antihypertensives is usually temporary, and normal hair growth may resume once the offending drug is changed," said Kashmira Govind, a pharmacist at the Farr Institute.
If you're worried about the side effects of a particular medication or if you're experiencing unusual symptoms from medications, always check in with your doctor or healthcare professional before making changes.
The Role of Stress in High Blood Pressure and Hair Loss
Stress can impact the body and hairline, whether you're a woman going through hormonal changes or you're experiencing increased stress at work.
Stress-related hair loss is known as telogen effluvium, and it is a common cause of sudden hair loss. Typically telogen effluvium occurs when the body experiences a major shock and, like a domino effect, triggers a range of hormonal responses.
A person struggling with hypertension might be putting the body under more stress than usual. As the body produces a surge of hormones to try and manage the stressful situation, this can temporarily increase blood pressure, making the heart beat faster and causing the blood vessels to narrow.
Prolonged stressed and constricted blood flow can deprive the hair follicles of the essential nutrients they need to grow, causing hair loss and hair thinning. This type of hair loss does tend to go away once the person experiences less stress (unless they're working with alopecia areata or female pattern baldness, which in some instances can be more permanent), but a nourishing hair wellness routine can help.
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What Are Common Causes of Hair Loss?
Whether you're struggling with crown baldness, frontal fibrosing alopecia or central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, there are many triggers for hair loss. If you're losing hair quickly, it might be because of the following reasons:
- Age. Approximately 55% of women experience age-related hair loss by the age of 70.
- Autoimmune conditions. Though men struggle with male pattern baldness, women develop autoimmune diseases twice as often as men. And many autoimmune disorders (and their accompanying medications) weaken the hair.
- Nutritional deficiencies. Nutrition is a foundational factor to your hair's health. To build healthy strands, the hair follicles need protein, vitamins B7, A, C and E, iron and zinc.
- Thyroid problems. A thyroid hormonal imbalance can thin hair across the body.
- Haircare. If you're pulling your hair back too tightly or using excessive heat on your strands, you'll soon notice the impact.
Improve Your Hair Wellness
Many people will experience hair loss throughout their lifetime for several reasons — not just hypertension. If you're worried that your medication (or something else) is impacting hair growth, always check in with a doctor before making significant changes.
Making healthy lifestyle changes will increase your overall wellbeing and reduce hypertension, but it will also improve the integrity of your precious strands. Exercise, a healthy diet and managing stress will keep you looking and feeling your best.
Provide your body with additional nutritional support and help your hairs thrive by taking our once-daily GRO Biotin Gummies and GRO+ Advanced Hair Gummies to support hair wellness with a holistic approach that cares for your body and mind.
More From VEGAMOUR
- Every Cause of Hair Loss, Explained
- What Your Hair Can Tell You About Your Overall Health
- How to Regain Hair Lost From Stress
- 8 Best Hairstyles for Thin Hair
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