New research suggests that deep forehead wrinkles could be a quick and easy way to detect people at risk of atherosclerosis, a cardiovascular condition that can lead to more serious problems such as a heart attack or stroke. In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up inside the arteries, making them less elastic and narrowing them over time. This limits the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the main organs of the body, which, in turn, can lead to a number of diseases, depending on the organ affected.
When plaque builds up within the coronary arteries, coronary heart disease and even heart attacks can occur. Some of the main risk factors for atherosclerosis include smoking, high cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, age and family history of heart disease. New research adds another risk factor to the list, and one that may be easier to detect than high blood pressure or insulin resistance.
“Deep forehead wrinkles, say the authors of the new study, could indicate atherosclerosis”.
The new research was presented at the 2018 annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology, held in Munich, Germany. Yolande Esquirol, author of the study and associate professor of occupational health at the Center Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse in France, shares what motivated the research. “You can’t see or feel risk factors like high cholesterol or hypertension, ” he says. « We explore forehead wrinkles as a marker because it is very simple and visual. Just looking at a person’s face could sound an alarm, so we could give advice to reduce the risk. This is not the first time that facial features have been explored as a potential marker of cardiovascular health. For example, it has been found that male pattern baldness and premature gray hair increase the risk of heart disease five times in previous studies.
Risk of Cardiovascular Death 10 Times Higher:
Esquirol and colleagues examined forehead wrinkles in 3,200 healthy adults, aged 32 to 62 at the start of the study. The researchers evaluated the wrinkles of the participants by applying a score ranging from 0 (“no wrinkles”) to 3 (“numerous deep wrinkles”). The scientists followed the participants clinically for 2 decades. During this time, 233 participants died of various conditions. Overall, the investigation revealed a directly proportional relationship between wrinkle score and the risk of dying from a cardiovascular problem. While a wrinkle score of 1 high risk of cardiovascular death only slightly, people with a wrinkle score of 2 and 3 were almost 10 times more likely to die of cardiovascular death than people with wrinkle scores of 0. These results were obtained after the scientists took into account age and work strain in their analyzes.
Why Wrinkles Can Indicate Atherosclerosis?
Although prospective research was observational, the researchers speculate that the missing link between wrinkle scores and the probability of cardiovascular death could be atherosclerosis. They base this theory on the fact that both wrinkles and atherosclerosis are subject to oxidative stress and changes in collagen protein levels. In addition, the researchers explain that blood vessels in the forehead are particularly thin, which could mean that they are more sensitive to plaque buildup which is a hallmark of atherosclerosis.
Finally, the authors suggest that forehead wrinkles could be an easier and much less expensive way to determine if someone has the condition than lipid tests and blood pressure measurements. ” Forehead wrinkles can be a marker of atherosclerosis,” says Esquirol. “This is the first time that a relationship between cardiovascular risk and forehead wrinkles has been established, so the findings must be confirmed in future studies,” he adds. “But the practice could now be used in doctors ‘ offices and clinics, “he explains, referring to the use of wrinkle scores as a way to detect signs of cardiovascular conditions. « It costs nothing, and there is no risk. «