People who have a lot more deep forehead wrinkles than is typical for their age may be at a higher risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, a study has found. “We explored forehead wrinkles as a marker because it’s so simple and visual. Just looking at a person’s face could sound an alarm, then we could give advice to lower risk,” said Yolande Esquirol, associate professor at Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse in France.
The advice could include straightforward lifestyle changes like getting more exercise or eating healthier food. “Of course, if you have a person with a potential cardiovascular risk, you have to check classical risk factors like blood pressure as well as lipid and blood glucose levels, but you could already share some recommendations on lifestyle factors,” said Esquirol.
Risk of heart disease increases as people age, but lifestyle and medical interventions can mitigate the danger. The challenge is in identifying high-risk patients early enough to make a difference. The study investigated horizontal forehead wrinkles to see if they had any value in assessing cardiovascular risk in a group of 3,200 working adults.
Participants, who were all healthy and were aged 32, 42, 52 and 62 at the beginning of the study, were examined by physicians who assigned scores depending on the number and depth of wrinkles on their foreheads. A score of zero meant no wrinkles while a score of three meant “numerous deep wrinkles”.
Those who had wrinkle scores of two and three had almost 10 times the risk of dying compared with people who had wrinkle scores of zero, after adjustments for age, gender, education, smoking status, blood pressure, heart rate, diabetes and lipid levels. “The higher your wrinkle score, the more your cardiovascular mortality risk increases,” said Esquirol.
Furrows in your brow are not a better method of evaluating cardiovascular risk than existing methods, such as blood pressure and lipid profiles, but they could raise a red flag earlier, at a simple glance.