New research has used male hair samples to prove that chronic stress and lead to cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack.
It has been known for some time now that stress such as that from a marriage, job problems, and/or financial problems can lead to an increased risk of heart attack. However, there was never really a way to directly measure this stress.
Dr. Koren explains “We know that on average, hair grows one centimetre (cm) a month, and so if we take a hair sample six cm long, we can determine stress levels for six months by measuring the cortisol level in the hair.”
The researchers used three cm long hair samples from 56 adult males who were admitted to Meir Medical Centre in Kfar-Saba, Israel after suffering heart attacks. The researchers also used hair samples from 56 adult males at the center who were there but not for a heart attack as a control group.
The researchers found that higher hair cortisol levels were found in the heart attack patients when compared to the control group. Thus they feel that measuring cortisol in hair may be a good way predict a future heart attack and possibly alert an individual that they need to get their stress under control before they have one.