As people get older, they show various physical signs of aging, with gray or white hair being one of the most common and noticeable among them. However, while many people commonly associate gray hair with old age, it is possible for people to start growing gray hair prematurely. This can be caused by a wide selection of different things, ranging from controllable to uncontrollable circumstances.
Various medical issues can cause a person to start growing gray hair prematurely, and may be out of the patient’s control. Such problems as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, or overproducing or under-producing thyroids, as well as pernicious anemia and vitiligo, are such health issues that can cause hair to gray early, and may not be treatable.
Pernicious anemia and vitiligo are both autoimmune diseases. Pernicious anemia causes the antibodies in the blood to attack the stomach cells, and prevents the body from absorbing B12 vitamins. Vitiligo, on the other hand, affects the skin, and destroys melanocytes, which causes patches of gray hair to form.
Genetics also plays a part in premature gray hair, meaning if your parents had hair that prematurely grayed, then it is likely you will too. Other factors include cigarette smoking and vitamin deficiencies. Smoking cigarettes increases your likelihood of prematurely growing gray hair by four times over non-smokers. A lack of vitamin B12 is also a common cause for premature gray hair.
Getting older is no fun, for many reasons. One such reason is for the simple fact that we begin to show our age, with things such as wrinkles and gray hair defining our physical appearance. Still, gray hair doesn’t always mean old age, as it can sometimes be caused by other factors. By learning about them, you may be able to pinpoint the cause for premature gray hair.