AHA: Visible Aging Signs Predict Heart Disease, MI Risk

Significantly higher risk of ischemic heart disease, MI for those with three to four visible aging signs

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- People with three or four visible signs of aging, such as frontoparietal or crown top baldness, earlobe crease, or xanthelasmata, have a significantly increased risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and myocardial infarction (MI), according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012, held from Nov. 3 to 7 in Los Angeles.

Mette Christoffersen, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a study involving 10,885 individuals from the Danish general population to assess whether visible signs of aging alone or in combination could be used, as markers of biological age, to predict the risk of IHD, independent of chronologic age.

During up to 35 years of follow-up, 3,401 people developed IHD and 1,708 experienced MI. The researchers found that, after adjusting for age, other established cardiovascular risk factors, and socioeconomic status, four signs of aging, individually or combined, were associated with an increased risk of IHD and MI: frontoparietal baldness, crown top baldness, earlobe crease, and xanthelasmata. Presence of these signs correlated with stepwise increases in risk; individuals with three to four versus zero markers had a hazard ratio of 1.39 for IHD and 1.57 for MI. In all age groups, the cumulative incidence of IHD and MI increased as a function of chronologic age with increasing number of signs of aging.

"Checking these visible aging signs should be a routine part of every doctor's physical examination," a coauthor said in a statement.

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