Having high cholesterol means you have too much of a fatty substance known as cholesterol in your blood. If not treated this can become dangerous as it can raise your risk of medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.

This is because the cholesterol can form into plaque deposits, causing the arteries to narrow and making it harder for blood to flow through. The plaque can also break away, forming a dangerous blood clot.

Often people with high cholesterol will be unaware of their condition due to the fact it usually does not show symptoms.

The only way to know for sure is to get tested. However, on occasion it can cause certain side effects.

According to an expert, one such side effect is hair loss.

Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Dr Zayn Majeed – surgeon at the Harley Street Hair Clinic – explained more.

“Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) that is essential for life,” he said.

“It’s a key structural component of cells, it functions as a precursor in the synthesis of certain hormones such as oestrogen, testosterone and cortisol, and is vital in the production of vitamin D.

“Alongside these functions, cholesterol is also important in the hair cycle since it modulates hair signalling pathways.

“Many studies show high levels of cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) otherwise known as ‘bad cholesterol’, can increase cardiovascular risk.

“This is because it can lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits known as plaques in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. But elevated cholesterol levels may also be linked with hair loss.

“If you are experiencing hair loss, it may be a potential sign that you may have high cholesterol levels.”

He referenced various scientific studies on the subject.

“Studies show that there is a higher prevalence of dyslipidaemia (unhealthy levels of one or more kinds of lipids) in women and men with androgenic alopecia,” Dr Majeed said.

“One study found women and men with androgenic alopecia showed significantly higher triglycerides (another type of lipid fat), total cholesterol and LDL values.

Another study showed women with androgenic alopecia had significantly higher total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels.

“This is similar in men as one study showed total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio was significantly higher in men with androgenic alopecia.”

If your cholesterol levels are found to be high there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower them.

Your GP may recommend dietary changes such as consuming healthier fats like those found in olive oil and nuts, limiting saturated and trans fats and prioritising foods rich in soluble fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols.

Dr Majeed said: “Additionally, other lifestyle changes can also help such as increasing how much you exercise, cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking.

“Medication can also be used alongside lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol to healthy levels.”

However, he added: “While studies show elevated cholesterol levels are more likely to be observed in those with hair loss, there is no direct link, so controlling your cholesterol level will not stop hair loss.

“It is normal to lose around 50-100 hairs a day since hair is constantly growing in a cycle.

“However, if you notice large amounts of hair loss – typically seen on your pillow, in your shower or as you comb your hair – it may be worthwhile to speak to your GP who can further investigate or you can see a hair loss specialist for treatment options.”

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