If losing your hair early and going gray isn’t enough of a downer, studies have also found that premature balding may be linked to increased risk of prostate cancer—and that all of those gray hairs may mean that your life is too stressful.
Well, fellas, it gets worse.
Those two depressing indicators of aging may also be associated with an increased coronary artery disease risk in guys 40 years old and under, according to new research recently presented at the annual conference of the Cardiological Society of India.
Scientists looked at almost 800 Indian men under age 40 with coronary artery disease, and then matched them to a control group of more than 1,200 similarly aged men without the disease. The docs gave the men a full battery of tests—electrocardiograms, blood tests, angiograms, etc.—and then rated them on a baldness and graying hair scale. The doctors then compared those results, along with incidence lesions that indicate early heart disease.
The findings? Some 50% of the men with coronary artery disease had premature graying, versus 30% without whitening hair. The bald guys, meanwhile, were five times more likely to get heart disease. The gray-haired young men were also four times more likely to develop CAD, which closely matched with the risk increase from being obese.
Bottom line: "Baldness and premature greying should be considered risk factors for coronary artery disease,” said study head, Kamal Sharma, M.D., associate professor in the department of cardiology at the U.N. Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Center. “These factors may indicate biological, rather than chronological, age which may be important in determining total cardiovascular risk. Currently, physicians use common sense to estimate biological age, but a validated scale is needed."