Thursday 19 October 2017

Why going grey could be bad news for your heart

Scientists have discovered that hair-whitening can indicate an increased risk of damage to arteries supplying the heart with blood.
Scientists have discovered that hair-whitening can indicate an increased risk of damage to arteries supplying the heart with blood.
The findings could pave the way to identifying patients most at risk of heart disease just by looking at their hair colour (Stock photo)

John von Radowitz

As if going grey was not bad enough, now comes the unwelcome news that it is linked to heart disease.

Scientists have discovered that hair-whitening can indicate an increased risk of damage to arteries supplying the heart with blood.

Some of the biological mechanisms driving coronary artery disease are also responsible for greying hair, they believe. These include impaired DNA repair, oxidative stress, inflammation, hormonal changes and the halting of cell growth.

The findings could pave the way to identifying patients most at risk of heart disease just by looking at their hair colour.

"Atherosclerosis (artery disease) and hair greying occur through similar biological pathways and the incidence of both increases with age," said Dr Irini Samuel, a cardiologist at Cairo University in Egypt.

"Our findings suggest that, irrespective of chronological age, hair greying indicates biological age and could be a warning sign of increased cardiovascular risk."

Hair-whitening turned out to be an independent predictor of narrowing and hardening of the coronary arteries, along with high blood pressure and abnormal levels of blood fat.

"A larger study is required to confirm the association in patients without known cardiovascular risk factors," Dr Samuel said.

"If our findings are confirmed, standardisation of the scoring system for evaluation of hair greying could be used as a predictor for coronary artery disease."

Irish Independent

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