London, Sep 3 (ANI): Experts can predict how stressed you are or if you are prone to a heart attack, just by looking at your hair, revealed a study.
Researchers have found that by measuring the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in strands of hair they can even predict if an attack is imminent.
Cortisol is normally monitored in urine and saliva but those tests reveal stress levels only at the time the sample is taken, so cannot show long-term patterns.
But, Dr Gideon Koren and Dr Stan Van Uum at the University of Western Ontario instead decided to measure cortisol in hair.
"Intuitively we know stress is not good for you, but it's not easy to measure," the Daily Express quoted Koren as saying.
"We know that on average, hair grows one centimetre a month, and so if we take a hair sample six centimetres long we can determine stress levels for six months," he added.
The team studied 56 men at the Meir Medical Centre in Israel after they suffered heart attacks.
Hair samples were taken from them and from a control group.
Higher cortisol levels were found in all the heart patients in the three months leading up to the attack.
This indicated that after accounting for the known risk factors, hair cortisol content emerged as the strongest predictor of a heart attack in the weeks before it strikes.
"Stress is a serious part of modern life affecting many areas of health and life," wrote Koren in the medical journal Stress.
"This has implications for research and for practice, as stress can be managed with lifestyle changes and psychotherapy," he added. (ANI)