Are wrinkles just an inevitable consequence of aging, or could they signal something more sinister?
According to a study presented today in Munich at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology, people who have many deep forehead wrinkles, more typical for their age, may have a higher risk of cardiovascular death Disease
The assessment of forehead wrinkles could be a simple and inexpensive way to identify people with a high risk category for CVD.
"You can not see or feel any risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure," says study author Yolande Esquirol, associate professor of occupational medicine at Center Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, France. "We looked at forehead wrinkles as markers because they are so simple and visual, so if we just look at a person's face, we can raise an alarm and then we can give advice to lower the risk."
This advice could also involve direct lifestyle changes or healthier eating. "Of course, if you have a person with a potential cardiovascular risk, you'll need to review classic risk factors, such as blood pressure and lipid and blood sugar levels, but you might already share some recommendations on lifestyle factors," Dr. Esquirol
The risk of heart disease increases with age, but lifestyle and medical measures can reduce the risk. The challenge is to identify high-risk patients early enough to make a difference.
According to study authors, previous research has analyzed various visible signs of aging to see if they can anticipate cardiovascular disease. In earlier studies crow's feet showed no relation to cardiovascular risk, but these tiny wrinkles near the eyes are a consequence of not only age but also facial movement. There was a link between male pattern baldness, earlobes, xanthelasma (pockets of cholesterol under the skin) and a higher risk of heart disease but not an increased risk of actual mortality.
The authors of the current prospective study In the study, another visible marker for age-old forehead wrinkles was examined to see if they had any value in assessing cardiovascular risk in a group of 3,200 working adults. Participants who were all healthy and were 32, 42, 52 and 62 years old at the start of the study were examined by physicians who awarded points according to the number and depth of wrinkles on the forehead. A score of zero meant no wrinkles, while a score of three meant "numerous deep wrinkles".
The study participants were observed for 20 years, during which time 233 died of various causes. Of these, 1
The authors found that individuals with a crease of one had a slightly higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than people without kinking. Those who had wrinkles of two and three had nearly 10 times the risk of dying compared to people who had wrinkle-zero, after adjustments for age, sex, education, smoking status, blood pressure, heart rate, diabetes and lipid levels,  "The higher the wrinkle score, the higher the cardiovascular mortality risk increases," explains Dr. med. Esquirol.
Ruts in the forehead are not a better method of assessing cardiovascular risk than existing methods such as blood pressure and lipid profiles, but they could raise a red flag earlier on a simple glance.
The researchers do not yet know the reason for the relationship that existed even when factors such as job stress were taken into account, but theorize that it might have to do with atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis due to plaque buildup. Atherosclerosis is a major factor in heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.
Changes in collagen protein and oxidative stress seem to play a role in atherosclerosis as well as in wrinkles. In addition, the blood vessels in the forehead are so small that they are more sensitive to plaque build-up, which means that wrinkles can be one of the early signs of vascular aging.
"Forehead wrinkles can be a sign of atherosclerosis," says Dr. Esquirol
"This is the first time that a link has been made between cardiovascular risk and forehead wrinkles, so the results need to be confirmed in future trials," warns. Esquirol, "but the practice could now be used in medicine". Offices and clinics. "
" It costs nothing and there is no risk, "concluded Dr. Esquirol.
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The abstract "Forehead Wrinkles and Risk of All-cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Mortality During the 20-Year Follow-Up Study in the Working Population: VISAT Study" will be presented during the Poster Session 2: Risk Assessment on Sunday, August 26, from 08: 30 to 12:30 presented in the poster area
Christoffersen, M and Tybjaerg-Hansen, A. Visible signs of aging as a risk marker for ischemic heart disease: epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical implications. Aging Research Reports . 2016; 25: 24-41.