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What Hair Loss Says About Heart Disease

Hairline receding? Notice an earlobe crease? Visible signs of aging may predict risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.

A look in the mirror may reflect your likelihood for heart disease.

People who had three to four signs of aging — receding hairline at the temples, crown balding, earlobe creasing, or fatty deposits around the eyelid — also had a 57 percent higher risk of heart attack and a 39 percent higher risk for heart disease in a study presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012.

“The visible signs of aging reflect physiologic or biological age, not chronological age, and are independent of chronological age,” said senior author Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, in a release from the American Heart Association.

Using data from the Copenhagen Heart Study, researchers analyzed 10,885 men and women 40 and older for visible signs of aging and, over 35 years of follow-up, heart disease. By the end of the follow-up period, 3,401 participants had developed heart disease and 1,708 had suffered a heart attack.

The researchers found that visible signs of aging, individually and combined, predicted heart attack and heart disease risk independent of traditional risk factors.

Fatty deposits around the eyelid, called xanthelasma, look like yellow bumps on the skin and may indicate high levels of fat in the blood. They were the strongest individual predictor of heart attack and heart disease, according to the study.

Previous research from Dr. Tybjaerg-Hansen, a professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, found a strong link between xanthelasma and future heart disease or a heart attack in adults.

Checking patients for visible signs of aging, like baldness and eyelid deposits, should be a routine part of every physical examination, Tybjaerg-Hansen also said in the AHA release.

Source: Everyday Health


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