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Facial Features Reflect Heart Health, Study Finds

Nov 6th, 2012
Staff Writer

The human heart reflects its condition onto the face, || according to recent research. photo credit: istock.Subjective indications of heart problems are one of the few trusted signs of cardiovascular issues. But cramping hands, extremity paralysis or a heaviness in the chest often precede cardiac arrest by only moments; what if there were indicators that gave fairer warning?

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen spent 35 years observing medical patients in order to determine if there was a salient, physical correlate to cardiovascular health.

The Copenhagen Heart Study, as it is titled, surveyed signs of aging in 10,885 participants aged 40 and older. Graying hair, wrinkles, baldness, receding hairlines and other indications of old age were quantified by nurses during check-ups (grey hair number, prominence of wrinkles, etc).

3,400 persons developed heart disease and more than 1,700 experienced a heart attack during the 35-year time lapse; people with three or four aging indicators were 57% more likely to experience a heart attack and 39% more likely to develop a heart disease.

Lead author Dr. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen presented her findings today at the American Heart Association Scientific Session. “The visible signs of aging reflect physiological or biological age, not chronological age, and are independent of chronological age,” Dr. Tybjaerg-Hansen said, following her research findings.