A Taiwanese research study set out to evaluate if the risk of stroke is increased in individuals with alopecia areata. Using a large research database, investigators compared 3231 patients with alopecia areata to 16,155 matched controls. Patients were tracked for 3 years. The incidence rate of stroke was 5.44 per 1000-person years (95% confidence interval (CI) = 4.03~7.20) for those with alopecia areata compared to 2.75 per 1000-person years (95% CI = 2.30 ~ 3.27) for those without alopecia areata. Overall, investigators found the risks of stroke was increased 1.61 times compared to controls.
Comment: Many autoimmune inflammatory conditions are associated with an increased risks of stroke (such as lupus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis). This study suggests that alopecia areata may also be on this list. Further studies are needed to verify these findings in other patient populations.
Kang JH et al. Alopecia areata increases the risk of stroke: a 3 year follow up study. Sci Rep 2015;5:11718.
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