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Deep wrinkles on the forehead are an indication of heart disease
People whose forehead is marked by several deep wrinkles are at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. These are the results of a recent French study. Wrinkles could quickly and inexpensively identify groups of people at increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Dr. Yolande Esquirol presented her team's study results at the 2018 annual meeting of the European Cardiology Society (ESC). The key message: People who have more deep forehead wrinkles than is typical for their age also have a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. The research team also suggests that the assessment of wrinkles in the eyebrow area be included in the diagnosis of heart disease as an inexpensive method.
Visual markers for cardiovascular diseases
"You cannot see or feel any risk factors such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure," reports Professor Dr. Yolande Esquirol from the Center Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse in a press release on the study results. Her team examined whether forehead wrinkles are suitable as a visual marker for the detection of heart diseases. "If you just look at a person's face, the wrinkles can give alarming clues," says the expert.
Lifestyle changes can help
People with more deep forehead wrinkles than usual for old age should change their lifestyle, the professor advises. In particular, these changes would include more exercise and healthier nutrition. "Of course, people also need to be checked for classic risk factors such as high blood pressure and high lipid and blood sugar levels," explains Dr. Esquirol.
Early identification of risk groups can save lives
As the researchers report, the risk of heart disease increases with age. Lifestyle and medical interventions are the most effective ways to reduce this risk. The challenge was to identify high-risk patients quickly and early enough to make a difference.
What do forehead wrinkles have to do with heart disease?
The exact reasons for the relationship between deep horizontal forehead lines and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease are not yet known. However, the researchers assume that the premature wrinkles could be signs of hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis).
How did the research team come across this connection?
Professor Esquirol's team assessed a group of 3,200 professionals over a period of 20 years. The subjects were all healthy at the start of the study. Participants received a score between zero and three, which shows the intensity of the forehead wrinkles. Zero meant "no wrinkles" and three "numerous deep wrinkles". During the study period, the participants were regularly examined for health.
What happened in the 20 years?
During the 20 years, 233 participants died from various causes. As the researchers found, people without wrinkles (i.e. with zero wrinkles) had the least risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Those with a wrinkle rating of one only had a slightly increased risk of death. The groups of people whose wrinkles were two or three had an almost ten times higher mortality risk than wrinkle-free people.
Deep forehead wrinkles indicate a higher risk of death
"The higher the wrinkle score, the higher the risk of cardiovascular mortality," summarizes Dr. Esquirol. Even if the reasons for this are not yet clearly identified, the expert sees a connection. "Changes in collagen protein and oxidative stress seem to play a role in both atherosclerosis and wrinkles," summarizes the professor. In addition, the blood vessels in the forehead are so small that they are more sensitive to plaque accumulation. This means that wrinkles can be one of the first signs of vascular aging.
Forehead wrinkles as a sign of atherosclerosis
"Forehead wrinkles can be a sign of atherosclerosis," says Esquirol. However, this still has to be confirmed by future studies. Nevertheless, medical practices and clinics could already pay attention to this, because it is a free indication of possible serious illnesses. (vb)