Men who go grey or bald before they turn 40 may be at greater risk of suffering a heart attack, research suggests.
People who lose their hair or go grey in their 20s or 30s are five-times as likely to also suffer heart problems at an early age, scientists found.
It is an even bigger risk factor than obesity, which raises the risk of early heart disease four times.
Experts suspect premature balding and grey hair are red flags that the body is ageing too fast.
They believe some people’s “biological age” accelerates faster than their real, or chronological, age.
This happens when DNA starts to deteriorate. Such a process harms the heart, but also damages the hair follicles.
Lead researcher Dr Sachin Patil, from the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in India, said: “The incidence of coronary artery disease in young men is increasing.
“Premature greying and androgenic alopecia (baldness) correlate well with vascular age, irrespective of chronological age and are plausible risk factors.”
The study compared 790 men who had heart disease before the age of 40 with 1270 healthy men of the same age.
The men with heart disease were significantly more likely to be prematurely grey or balding than the healthy individuals.