So what should a bald man do? "Find out what your fasting blood glucose level is," says Morris F. White, PhD, a researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Harvard Medical School in Boston. This is a simple, inexpensive test for insulin resistance and is usually performed during a routine checkup. Sherwin suggests that men with severe crown baldness might consider being screened for cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, especially since such men have been shown to have a high risk for heart disease.
Although baldness is only a suggested risk factor for insulin resistance, many of the preventive measures taken by people dealing with that condition also could be considered by men facing severe crown baldness at a young age. For instance, White says, people with insulin resistance should exercise because exercise improves the muscles' ability to absorb glucose, reducing the need for insulin.
Furthermore, people with insulin resistance usually gain weight, which aggravates their insulin resistance. This vicious circle can ultimately lead to diabetes, if the resistance grows so great that the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to control blood sugar. But exercise pares fat from the body, and that reduces insulin resistance, White says.
White says people with insulin resistance and diabetes probably gain weight because they eat too much. They do so because insulin resistance interferes with the mechanism that tells the brain when one has eaten enough food. "If you eat a candy bar, you don't feel hungry anymore," White says. "If you are insulin resistant, you may need to eat two candy bars to have that effect." This conclusion is based on research that White has just published in the journal Nature and other recent work, he says.
One can combat this effect to a small degree by drinking several glasses of water before eating, which stretches the stomach, adding to the sense of fullness, White says.