Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, and smoking are known coronary risk factors. It has been our impression that premature graying of the hair also predisposes individuals to myocardial infarctions. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated all of the patients under the age of 50 who were admitted to the coronary care unit between 1974 and 1976 with a proven diagnosis of a myocardial infarction. There were 50 patients. Thirty-eight did not have premature graying. Twelve of the male patients (24%) had virtual total graying of the hair which made them appear older than their stated age. The graying in these patients started on the average at 29 years. Five of these patients state that other family members had premature hair graying. The incidence of diabetes, hypertension, and smoking was similar in those with and without premature hair graying. This preliminary study suggests that premature graying of the hair is associated with premature cardiovascular disease. It should probably be regarded as a coronary risk factor and used to identify patients at increased risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine