Visibly aging but young at heart? Don’t count on it, suggested researchers Tuesday.
In a study following more than 10,000 people over 35 years, the presence of visible signs of aging signaled an increased risk of heart attack and heart disease.
The research was presented at the American Heart Assn.’s Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles and was conducted in Denmark by University of Copenhagen biochemist Dr. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen and colleagues. The team analyzed data collected from participants in a large study of heart disease, noting whether subjects developed heart disease and also whether they had any of six signs of aging: baldness at the crown of the head, receding hairline at the temples, gray hair, wrinkles, earlobe crease and fatty deposits around the eyelids.
The amount of gray hair and wrinkles subjects had didn’t make a difference, but people who had at least three of the other four aging traits studied had a 57% increased risk for heart attack and a 39% increased risk for heart disease when other risk factors were taken into account.
In a statement issued by the American Heart Assn., the researchers reported that the risks of heart attack and heart disease went up with each additional aging trait — in men and in women, and across all age groups. People in their 70s had the highest risk.
In the AHA statement, study leader Tybjaerg-Hansen said that the findings suggested that “checking these visible aging signs should be a routine part of every doctor’s physical examination.”