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Deep Forehead Wrinkles Mark A Higher Risk Of Dying From Cardiovascular Diseases

Aug 27, 2018 08:43 PM EDT
Forehead wrinkles — or the lack of it — can speak volumes about the health. A new study reveals that more wrinkles can mean a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.
(Photo : Gerd Altmann | Pixabay)

Scientists discover that deep forehead wrinkles can be an indication of so much more than just age but also risk for cardiovascular diseases.

This could open the doors to a simple, low-cost method of identifying individuals who should keep an eye out for their cardiovascular health.

The Study

The researchers presented their findings at the annual European Society of Cardiology Congress 2018, using a visible marker of age — specifically, horizontal forehead wrinkles — to see if it is linked to cardiovascular risk in adults.

"You can't see or feel risk factors like high cholesterol or hypertension," Yolande Esquirol, study author and associate professor of occupational health at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, points out in a statement. "We explored forehead wrinkles as a marker because it's so simple and visual. Just looking at a person's face could sound an alarm, then we could give advice to lower risk."

Esquirol and the rest of the team analyzed 3,200 healthy adult participants ages 32, 42, 52, and 62 at the beginning of the study. Each individual were given scores that represented the number and depth of their forehead wrinkles from 0 indicating no wrinkles to 3 indicating numerous deep wrinkles.

During the 20-year study period, 233 participants died of various causes, with 15.2 percent having a score of 2 and 3, 6.6 percent with a score of 1, and 2.1 percent with a score of 0.

Furthermore, while there was only a slight increase in risk between those who scored 1 and 0, those who scored 2 and 3 are nearly 10 times more likely to die from a cardiovascular disease than those who scored 0. This is after the authors adjusted for factors such as age, gender, education, blood pressure, heart rate, smoking status, diabetes, and lipid levels.

With these findings, the researchers say that although this technique of assessing cardiovascular risk isn't really more effective than existing methods via blood pressure and lipid levels, it could be extremely useful in flagging a person's risk much earlier.

An Explanation For The Link

Although the connection between wrinkles and cardiovascular risk is well-established in the study, the team isn't certain why exactly this link exists.

One theory presented is atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries from the build-up of plaque and is known to contribute to heart attacks and other cardiovascular-related events.

The authors explain that both atherosclerosis and wrinkles are linked to changes in collagen protein and oxidative stress. Forehead blood vessels may also be more sensitive to plaque build-up due to its small size, so wrinkles could actually be a marker of atherosclerosis, which in turn greatly affects cardiovascular health.

Early detection of cardiovascular risk is essential in minimizing the fatalities of the conditions, so scientists have been trying to find a way to better identify at-risk individuals. One is forehead wrinkles, but another recently released study suggests erectile dysfunction may also be a marker, as the two conditions share a number of risk factors.

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