Can you actually get old and develop gray hair if you are ill for long periods of time?

Gray hair. Yes. Persistent illness often leads both to nutritional deficiencies and to side-effects from medications. A common example is patients who have cancer where their chemotherapy causes severe hair damage. Think of chronic illness as a process that accelerates aging. Focusing on a healthy diet with routine vitamin supplementation is probably the best thing one can do in this situation.
YES. Reasons to gray. Early. 1. Genetics. 2. Age 3. Stressors. The age of initial graying is largely a matter of genetics. However stressors such as nutritional deficiencies, traumatic head injuries, low vitamin b levels, zinc deficiency, severe illness, surgery and marked emotional stress may impact earlier depigmentation in people who are already predisposed to gray hair. In general – genetics plays the biggest role.