A new research by scientists in Egypt has established a link between increased risk of heart disease in men to grey hair.
Researchers at Cairo University, Egypt, explain that atherosclerosis and hair greying have similar mechanisms such as impaired DNA repair, oxidative stress, inflammation, hormonal changes and senescence of functional cells. Researchers carried out a prospective, observational study of 545 adult men to assess the prevalence of grey hair in patients with coronary artery disease and whether it was an independent risk marker of disease.
For the study scientists subjected the participants to 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. Data was collected on traditional cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, dyslipidaemia, and family history of coronary artery disease.
Study found that high hair whitening score (grade 3 or more) was associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease independent of chronological age and established cardiovascular risk factors. Patients with coronary artery disease had a statistically significant higher hair whitening score and higher coronary artery calcification than those without coronary artery disease.
In multivariate regression analysis, age, hair whitening score, hypertension and dyslipidaemia were independent predictors of the presence of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Only age was an independent predictor of hair whitening.
Authors of the study state that further research is needed and that too in coordination with dermatologists, to learn more about the causative genetic and possible avoidable environmental factors that determine hair whitening.