Are visible signs of aging a predictor of heart disease


Are visible signs of aging a predictor of heart disease?

If you look old, your heart may feel old. In a recent study, doctors found that people who had three to four aging signs —

  • receding hairline at the temples,
  • baldness at the head’s crown,
  • earlobe crease,
  • or yellow fatty deposits around the eyelid (xanthelasmata)

— had a 57 percent increased risk for heart attack and a 39 percent increased risk for heart disease .

Researchers looked at nearly 11,000 patients 40 years and older (45 percent women) in the Copenhagen Heart Study (A decades long study on cardiovascular desease). Of these, more than  7,500 receding hairline at the temples, almost 4,000 had crown top baldness, 3,400 had earlobe crease, and almost 700 had fatty deposits around the eye.

In 35 years of follow-up, 3,401 participants developed heart disease and 1,708 had a heart attack.

Individually and combined, these signs predicted heart attack and heart disease independent of traditional risk factors. Fatty deposits around the eye were the strongest individual predictor of both heart attack and heart disease.

Heart attack and heart disease risk increased with each additional sign of aging in all age groups and among men and women. The highest risk was for those in their 70s and those with multiple signs of aging.

In the study, nurses and laboratory technicians noted the quantity of gray hair, prominence of wrinkles, the type and extent of baldness, the presence of earlobe crease and eyelid deposits.1

Many doctors recognize visible signs of aging in the physical examination as possibly an indicator of underlying problems. If you see them yourself, please consider an appointment with your doctor.