A recent study suggests that stress hormones in our hair can potentially indicate the risk of a heart attack or stroke risk. Elevated levels of cortisol and cortisone, the stress hormones, double the likelihood of experiencing a cardiovascular event in one’s lifetime. Furthermore, the probability increases to over three times for individuals aged 57 or younger.
Stress hormones have an impact on scalp hair
The study conducted by a research team from the Netherlands analyzed long-term levels of cortisol and cortisone in scalp hair, which indicate exposure to the stress hormone glucocorticoid in the months prior.
Researchers examined cortisol and cortisone’s effects on metabolism and body fat distribution. They conducted a study using hair samples from over 6,000 adult men and women who were part of the Lifelines study, which included more than 167,000 participants from northern regions of the Netherlands. The study aimed to increase understanding of the long-term impact of cortisol and cortisone on cardiovascular disease.
Interestingly, researchers investigated the correlation between cortisol and cortisone levels and cardiovascular diseases in a five to seven-year study. As a result, they observed 133 reported cases of cardiovascular disease events during this period.
High cortisone and cortisol levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
Participants with high levels of cortisol and cortisone in their hair were found to have a doubled risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event in their lifetime. This risk was even higher, over three times, for those aged 57 or younger. However, no significant association was found between hair cortisol, cortisone levels, and cardiovascular disease in those aged 57 and older. The study suggests that hair analysis could potentially be used as a test to identify individuals at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, leading to targeted treatments focused on stress hormone effects.
Cardiovascular disease is a term used to describe various conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, such as coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the U.S., one person dies from cardiovascular disease every 33 seconds.