Know how your hair can predict your heart-risks


Increase in the levels of hormone, cortisol, in hair shaft could be a marker for chronic stress and can help in speculating the heart-health. Stress has become an indivisible part of the modern-lifestyle. Stress is very well known to transform and grow into several disorders and some of them, as we know, could be fatal. Although stress has been in consideration as one of the major known reasons for heart failure, no direct studies were done to discern the correlation between the stress and heart-attack. The strength of the current research lies in finding the link between stress and heart health

In the current times people are very easily vulnerable to stress originating from several issues related

  • Finance management
  • Relationships failures / Difficult people in your life
  • Pressure to perform better in profession/ academic
  • Job search
  • Competition in general
  • Gaining stability.
  • Not getting enough sleep

So basically everything and anything around you could put you under stress and eventually lead you in to various health problems.

Merits of this research
This interesting finding was reported in the journal Stress. Cortisol is released when a person is under stress in order to cope with the stress. However, chronic increase of cortisol can adversely affect one’s well-being

  • The studies surprisingly indicated that the hair cortisol level is more critical factor in predicting heart-attack compared to traditionally known factors like high blood pressure, levels of cholesterol or smoking habits.
  • Although cortisol levels in the blood, urine and saliva can also help in determining the stress levels, these levels correspond to the time when the samples were withdrawn for testing.
  • The hair strands however, can provide a long term records of the stress levels. For example, if a hair grows by 1 cm every single month the 3 cm long hair would be a marker of stress over three months.


Statistical data from this research

  •  In this research 3 cm long hair samples of 56 men who were hospitalized after heart-attack were collected
  •  These samples were then compared to samples of...

    hair collected from other men who were hospitalized for conditions other than a heart-attack.
  • The results revealed that patients who were hospitalized after heart-attack had higher levels of cortisol in their hair-shaft than the others.
  • “Not only did hair cortisol levels differ among men in each group, but they were also the strongest predictor of who would have a heart attack,” said Redford Williams, MD, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Can we lower stress?
We probably do not know the exact answer to this question but we can certainly manage out stress in better way by implementing some changes in our lifestyle like

  • Exercising
  • Yoga/ meditation
  • Getting massage
  • Journaling or expressing yourself
  • Venting out (even if it involves crying aloud)
  • Trying to get some good sleep 


Working hard has no more remained an option for gaining stability and happiness in life. If not anything else then the all-prevalent throat-cutting competition and your own desire to excel is certainly going to stress you out. There are some things in life that are within your reach and your control and one must try to reach those goals by working hard and working smart. There are things that need to be changed and one can certainly try changing them. But there are other things/situation that cannot be changed and at such time especially, experts recommend, one must let go of their anger and frustration. Learning to let-go of such negative emotions and being indifferent when necessary is in fact an excellent start to mitigate your stress and adopt healthy living!

Source: Webmd


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