Gray Hair & Heart Disease: A Surprising Connection

New research from cardiologists at the Cairo University of Egypt presented to the European Society of Cardiology suggests a link between gray hair and heart disease in men.

Researchers analyzed coronary artery disease in 545 men, and divided them into subgroups. Groups were designated on prevalence of coronary artery disease and the amount of gray or white hair on their heads.

Also taken into account in the study were well-known risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure, history of tobacco use, diabetes, and weight.

The major takeaway from the study: a high correlation between hair whitening/graying and a greater risk of atherosclerosis, even after risk factors were accounted for.

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls. It often has no symptoms until the buildup is severe enough to block blood flow, and is the usual culprit of heart attacks and strokes.

What Can You Do?

No need to panic if you’re going gray. [As it happens, there is no scientific evidence to suggest a direct cause-and-effect relationship between stress and our hair turning white, contrary to widely held beliefs.]

A regular check-up with a primary care provider can help get you on the right track with diet and exercise. Always talk to your primary care provider about changing your nutrition or exercise plan.

Read our article on heart disease warning signs for men for more information about the symptoms and signs of heart disease.

If a primary care provider finds that you are at a heightened risk for heart disease, you can be referred to one of the many specialists at UP Health System – Marquette’s Heart & Vascular team.

If you need to find a primary care provider, use our online Find a Doctor tool, or call 906.228.9440.

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