Health and Happiness

Beware: Baldness, Gray Hair, Obesity, and Heart Disease

The BBC says early baldness is a bigger risk for heart disease than obesity. And don’t forget gray hair. The LA Times says that gray’s the way that beats obesity for giving us a heart attack. All this and more is simply dutiful reporting on a press release from the European Society of Cardiology. Health reporters respond well when someone gives them click bait.

Better Hair, Better Health?

This is close to being useless reporting. Neither a hair transplant nor hair color is likely to do much for our risk of heart disease. In other words, so what? The public is not better equipped for life and good health with this information. Writing in The Conversation, James Brown offers good perspective:

As of yet there is little we can do to reverse or prevent male-pattern baldness or premature graying, beyond cosmetic changes.

Better to focus on risk factors we can modify. A healthful diet and an active lifestyle are good places to start. Eating well and living well can clearly help with health. But worrying about hair won’t do much. And what’s more, a person can look pretty good with a bit of baldness and gray hair.

But then, we all have our biases. (Disclosure: ConscienHealth’s founder has balding, gray hair.)

Rivalry of Risks

Setting up a rivalry of risk factors – even if we can act on them – is not especially helpful either. It reminds us of an unfortunate mess the CDC created for itself with a comparison of deaths caused by smoking versus obesity. In the end, CDC had to fess up and take a hit to its credibility. And arguably, it served to sensationalize and stigmatize obesity in the process.

We can all live better with fewer pointless sensations these days.

Click here for the press release that sparked this frothy reporting and here for further perspective from The Conversation.

Health and Happiness, photograph © Neil Moralee / flickr

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December 4, 2017

2 Responses to “Beware: Baldness, Gray Hair, Obesity, and Heart Disease”

  1. December 04, 2017 at 6:53 am, Joe Gitchell said:

    I love your commitment to “transparency”, Ted, particularly your disclosure on androgenic alopecia!

    Important reminder of the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer, eh?


    • December 04, 2017 at 7:46 am, Ted said:

      Here’s to changing everything we can, Joe. Thanks!!!!