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A Study of Correlation of Alopecia Areata and Metabolic Syndrome in Northwest Indian Population: A Case-Control Study.

CONTEXT: Alopecia areata (AA) is the most common cause of inflammatory, nonscarring hair loss, involving hair-bearing areas of the body. The etiology of AA still remains uncertain; however, genetic, environmental, and autoimmunity play a role. Newer theories such as oxidative theory, HPA axis activation, and finally, the role of increased inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 1 (IL1), tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon-gamma, IL-2 IL-4, and MIF are suggested to contribute to both AA and metabolic syndrome (MS).

AIMS: Assessment of the degree of association of MS (NCEP ATP III criteria) in clinically diagnosed cases of AA and compare to that of controls.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Similar age/sex-matched AA patients and controls (106 in each group) were taken. Anthropometric measurements, blood-sugar estimation, lipid-profile estimation in venous blood sample, and blood-pressure measurement were done.

RESULTS: Prevalence of MS was almost similar among cases of AA 9/106 (8.47%) as well as healthy controls 8/106 (7.54%), and the difference was not statistically significant ( P = 1). Among all components of MS, waist circumference (WC) (central obesity) was the most common parameter (100% cases). In controls, high systolic blood pressure (SBP) was the most common parameter (77.78% controls). AA is associated with a higher level of SBP, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), WC although nonsignificant, and low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol which was the only significant association.

CONCLUSION: Insignificant correlation between occurrence of MS and evidence of insulin resistance (IR) in AA was observed in this study population. However, some of the observations in the present study may raise awareness in susceptible individuals that lifestyle changes and regular screening in AA can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other co-existing autoimmune inflammatory condition-IR, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.

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