Abstract 15333: Aging Signs Predict Risk of Ischemic Vascular Disease Independent of Chronological Age
INTRODUCTION: The physical examination of a patient often includes an assessment of whether a patient looks older than his or her actual age. This practice assumes that patients appearing older than their chronological age are more likely to be in poor health. OBJECTIVE: We tested the hypothesis that visible signs of aging (baldness, grey hair, wrinkles, xanthelasmata, arcus corneae and earlobe crease), individually or combined, are markers of the biological age of an individual, and thus predict increased risk of ischemic vascular disease (IVD) independent of chronological age.
METHODS: Aging signs, according to prespecified criteria, were registered at baseline in 10,885 individuals from the Danish general population. Of these, 3,401 developed ischemic heart disease (IHD) and 1,708 developed myocardial infarction (MI) during up to 35 years of follow-up. RESULTS: Four aging signs (frontoparietal baldness, crown top baldness, earlobe crease, xanthelasmata), individually or combined, predicted an increased risk of IHD and MI after multifactorial adjustment for age, other well-known cardiovascular risk factors, and markers of socioeconomic status. Presence of these aging signs predicted stepwise increases in risk with hazard ratios up to 1.39 (1.20-1.61) for IHD and 1.57 (1.28-1.93) for MI, in individuals with 3-4 versus 0 aging signs. The cumulative incidence of IHD and MI as a function of chronological age increased with increasing number of aging signs in all age groups (Figure 1; log-rank P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The visible aging signs: baldness, xanthelasmata, and earlobe crease, are additive markers of poor cardiovascular health, independent of classical risk factors. Further studies on the mechanisms underlying the increased risk of IVD in individuals with several aging signs, may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of this disease.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.