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How high is a person's heart attack risk? Based on research, scientists have determined that the risk of heart attack can be measured with a hair analysis. According to results, the cause of a heart attack could be stress.
Researchers at the “University of Western Ontario” in London, Canada, have found that the risk of heart attack can be measured using a hair analysis. In patients who already had a heart attack, the scientists were able to determine an increased cortisol value. Cortisol is a so-called stress hormone and is deposited in the hair. The cortisol concentration in the hair makes it possible to measure how high the risk of heart attack is.
Interesting in this context is the suspicion, which has been held for years, that stress at work, family or relationship increases the risk of heart attack. Because stress leads to an increased release of cortisol. So far, it has only been possible for medical professionals to measure the stress hormone in the blood, saliva or urine. However, the hormone was only measurable immediately after the stressful situation. If doctors wanted to measure for a longer period of time, this was hardly possible. The hair analysis has now successfully determined this long-term value. This was reported by the molecular toxicologists around Gideon Koren and Stan Van Uum in the current issue of the science magazine "Stress".
The hair of 56 male heart attack patients was examined in one study. In a control group there were another 56 men who were hospitalized for other health reasons. Hair samples were also taken from them. The researchers found that a person's hair grows an average of an inch a month. This led to the conclusion that a three centimeter long hair sample provides values from the past three months. The study found that the stress hormone value of the heart attack patients measured based on the last three months was significantly higher than that of the other subjects.
In addition to stress, other factors are responsible for a heart attack. This includes an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking or being overweight, as well as high blood pressure and diabetes. However, the research results showed that stress had the highest risk value. The scientists see significant findings in heart attack research in the results. Because if stress sufferers change their lifestyle and thus avoid stress, numerous heart attacks could be prevented.
In this context, the results of a Danish long-term study by the "Glostrup University Hospital" fit. There, nurses had been examined and accompanied in professional life for over 15 years. On the basis of an evaluation, it was found that women who complained of stress were also significantly more often affected by heart attacks. (sb)