Grey hair has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease in men, in research presented today at EuroPrevent 2017.
“Ageing is an unavoidable coronary risk factor and is associated with dermatological signs that could signal increased risk,” said Dr Irini Samuel, a cardiologist at Cairo University, Egypt. “More research is needed on cutaneous signs of risk that would enable us to intervene earlier in the cardiovascular disease process.”
Atherosclerosis and hair greying share similar mechanisms such as impaired DNA repair, oxidative stress, inflammation, hormonal changes and senescence of functional cells. This study assessed the prevalence of grey hair in patients with coronary artery disease and whether it was an independent risk marker of disease.
This was a prospective, observational study which included 545 adult men who underwent multi-slice computed tomography (CT) coronary angiography for suspected coronary artery disease. Patients were divided into subgroups according to the presence or absence of coronary artery disease, and the amount of grey/white hair.
The amount of grey hair was graded using the hair whitening score: 1 = pure black hair, 2 = black more than white, 3 = black equals white, 4 = white more than black, and 5 = pure white. Each patients’ grade was determined by two independent observers.