Premature gray hair may indicate heart attack risk

New research presented recently at the annual meeting of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology found that going gray early in men may mean they are at an increased risk of a heart attack. Scientists have discovered that whitening of hair can indicate an increased risk of damage to the coronary arteries. That is because the biological mechanisms that lead to coronary artery disease are the same ones that cause hair to turn gray.

Hair whitening may be an independent predictor of narrowing of the coronary arteries, along with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. The biological mechanisms that lead to both atherosclerosis and graying of hair include impaired DNA repair, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and testosterone deficiency.

Comments: More research is needed to see if hair color can, in fact, be consistently used as a measure of heart disease risk. It does make sense though, from a biological mechanism standpoint. In the meantime, if you are a man over 40 and want to make sure you are not sitting on a ticking time bomb, we offer a comprehensive cardiovascular risk blood profile that evaluates 17 risk factors. With this information, immediate corrective action can be taken before you are stricken with a life-threatening heart attack.