Heart attacks happen when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually because of a blood clot. Heart disease, also known as ischaemic heart disease or coronary heart disease, is the leading cause of heart attacks. Heart disease is a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged with deposits of cholesterol known as plaques. There is a lesser known warning sign of a potential impending heart attack and if a man notices more grey hair it could be a warning.
A new study presented in Europe at EuroPrevent 2017 found that a high amount of grey hair is a risk factor for silent heart atherosclerosis.
A total of 545 adult men without known heart disease had a CT angiogram of their heart arteries, a very accurate way to identify silent problems.
Having equal amounts of grey and dark hair, or mainly grey and white hair, correlated with finding silent heart blockages.
The researchers commented that “atherosclerosis and hair greying occur through similar biological pathways.”
Dr Joel Kahn discussed another lesser known warning sign of a heart attack found in hair.
Dr Kahn said: “In a comprehensive study of almost 37,000 men, severe baldness at the crown of the head strongly predicted the presence of silent CHD at any age.
In a separate study of more than 7,000 people, moderate to severe baldness doubled the risk of dying from heart disease in both sexes.”
The British Heart Foundation added: “Research suggesting that men with grey hair are at higher risk of heart disease has received widespread news coverage.
“Although being older raises your risk of both grey hair and heart disease, the research suggests that there is still a link, independently of your chronological age.
“They suggest that in future health professionals could score how grey or white a patient’s hair is and use this score to predict their risk of coronary heart disease.
“The study looked at men only, therefore cannot be applied to women.
“The first weakness of the study is that it looked at men only, therefore cannot be applied to women.
“Secondly, it is quite a small sample size, which increases the chances that the findings are a coincidence rather than a genuine link, and also could make them less representative of the general population Of those 545, 80 percent had heart disease, leaving just 109 who didn’t have heart disease, which is a small number on which to base finding that having more less grey hair affects your risk of having heart disease or not.”
The more common warning symptoms of heart attacks include pain in the chest, shoulder, legs or arms.
The NHS said: “If you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack, call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
“Do not worry if you have doubts. Paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life.
“Symptoms of heart attack include chest pain, pain in other parts of the body, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, sweating, shortness of breath, feeling sick, an overwhelming sense of anxiety or coughing or wheezing.”