Whenever one looks at correlations discovered between manifestations of aging, it is worth bearing in mind that it is easy to find these correlations, but hard to show that they are in any way meaningful. Aging is caused by a few comparatively simple processes of damage accumulation that spread out into a vast, complicated, branching tree of interacting secondary and later consequences. Aging is complicated because our biology is very complicated, not because its causes are especially complicated. This spreading out from common roots means that many parts of aging proceed at fairly similar rates in any given individual. That can be true even if those correlated portions of aging have little connection to one another aside from that same root cause, all the way down beneath many layers of cause and effect.
Aging is a complex process that affects all of us. All organs undergo a series of age related changes, in which the vascular system is prominent. Hair graying is one of the natural aging processes. Although it is generally not a medical problem, it greatly concerns many people for aesthetic reasons. Because of the strong association between aging and hair graying, many researchers have been concerned that hair graying, especially when occurs prematurely, is a predictor of some severe systemic disease and several studies evaluated the association of premature hair graying (PHG) with osteopenia or coronary artery disease (CAD).
Atherosclerosis and graying of hair share a similar mechanism includes impaired DNA repair, oxidant stress, androgens, inflammatory processes, and senescence of functioning cells, and the incidence of both conditions increases with age. Accordingly, this study was conducted to determine the prevalence and degree of hair graying among a cohort of males with suspected CAD who underwent computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) and whether it is an independent marker for CAD.
This study recruited 545 adult male patients who underwent a CTCA for suspicion of CAD. Extent of grayness was assessed with two observers using hair whitening score (HWS), defined according to percentage of gray/white hairs. Patients were divided into different subgroups according to the percentage of gray/white hairs and to the absence or presence of CAD.
We found that patients who had atherosclerotic CAD were older in age and among all cardiovascular risk factors, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia were more prevalent, and that high HWS was associated with increased risk of CAD independent of chronological age and other established cardiovascular risk factors. The results of our study not only confirm an association between hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and hair graying but also shows that coronary calcification detected by CTCA was significantly higher in patient with high HWS.