The wrinkles that indicate your heart disease risk

The lines in your face reveal a lot about your life — how much you smile, whether you’re a stomach or a side sleeper, how you feel about sunscreen.

But what if those lines revealed more than just minor details of your past? What if they revealed major details about your future?

According to a new study, they may…

Just like a palm reader can supposedly look at the lines in your hand and tell you how long you’re going to live, you can look at the lines in your face and determine your heart disease risk.

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Forehead wrinkles signal heart trouble

You know those annoying forehead creases that keep getting deeper every year? Well, apparently the deeper they are, the higher your risk of getting heart disease.

Researchers from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse in France found that people with deeper forehead wrinkles were more likely to succumb to heart disease.

The study followed 3,200 adults for 20 years. At the start of the study, participants were 32, 42, 52 or 62 years old, and they were all assigned a score between zero and three based upon the severity of their forehead wrinkles. A score of zero meant they had no forehead wrinkles, and a score of three meant they had several deep forehead wrinkles.

At the end of the study, researchers determined that people with a score of zero (no forehead wrinkles) were a bit more likely to die from heart disease than people with a score of one (minor forehead wrinkles). But people with a score of two or three (moderate to high forehead wrinkles) were nearly 10 times more likely to die from heart disease than people with no forehead wrinkles.

Woah! Time to take a long hard look at those forehead wrinkles. But why the heck would forehead wrinkles have anything to do with your heart health in the first place?

Researchers have a guess. They believe wrinkles and atherosclerosis (the hardening of your arteries due to plaque build-up) are caused by the same things — changes in collagen protein and oxidative stress. They also think that since the blood vessels in your forehead are small, they may be more susceptible to plaque build-up, which means those forehead wrinkles could be an early sign of blood vessel aging.

How to lower heart disease risk

As strange as it seems that forehead wrinkles can tell you about your heart disease risk, it’s not the first time a physical feature has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. Male-pattern baldness, earlobe creases, xanthelasma (pockets of cholesterol under the skin) are all tied to a higher risk of heart disease.

While it’s interesting to pay attention to these strange signs of heart disease risk, it’s still much more reliable to look at other risk factors, like:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being sedentary
  • Having family members with heart disease
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Being over age 55

If you’re at risk for heart disease because of traditional or nontraditional risk factors, the best way to lower your risk is to exercise every darn day (even if it’s just for 15 minutes) and to follow a healthy diet — one that’s proven to support heart health. Some scientifically supported choices include the Mediterranean diet and plant-based diets.

You should also quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake and slash your stress levels. These factors are all tied to a higher risk of heart disease. And start sleeping at least seven to nine hours a night too. Science shows it’s good for your heart.

Who knows… if you do all these things, maybe your heart disease risk will go down and your forehead wrinkles will fade away. One can only hope, right?

Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.