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Signs of aging may be a predictor of heart disease

Category: General Wellness

Research recently presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 shows that a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of the head, creases in the ear lobes and xanthelasmata - a condition in which fatty deposits form around the eyelids - may indicate a greater risk of heart attack and heart disease.

The study was conducted on subjects from the Copenhagen Heart Study who were at least 40 years old. Of the 10,885 participants, 7,537 had receding hairline at the temples, also known as frontoparietal baldness, 3,938 had baldness at the crown of their head, 3,405 had earlobe crease and 678 had xanthelasmata.

The 35 years of follow up examinations showed that the participants who had one of the aforementioned signs of aging were 57 percent more likely to have a heart attack and had a 37 percent greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. For each sign of aging, the risk of developing a heart condition increased, but the fatty deposits around the eyes proved the be the strongest indicator of a heart attack or heart disease.

The correlations between the physical signs of aging and a heart condition were so strong that research author Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, M.D., of the University of Copenhagen, noted that healthcare providers should regularly look for them in patients during checkups.

"Checking these visible aging signs should be a routine part of every doctor’s physical examination," she said.

Physiological risk factors of heart disease
There are also various risk factors that are not physically apparent that may predict heart disease or a heart attack. One of these that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes is high cholesterol, which can be detected with cholesterol tests. While the body needs cholesterol, too much of the waxy substance can build up in the arteries and decrease blood flow.

According to the CDC, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is also a risk factor for heart conditions. Like high cholesterol, there are usually no physical symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it's a good idea to regularly have it checked by a healthcare professional.

Diabetes, a condition in which the body doesn't have enough insulin or cannot properly use the insulin that it has to control blood sugar levels, can also be significantly detrimental to the heart, and the CDC reports that nearly 75 percent of people with diabetes die from a heart-related condition.


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