Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Health Center

Font Size

4 Signs of Aging That May Show Higher Heart Risk

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 6, 2012 (Los Angeles) -- A receding hairline and certain other signs of aging may be far more than cosmetic problems. They can be signs of poor heart health.

Danish researchers found that people with four signs of aging -- receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the head’s crown, earlobe crease, and yellow fatty deposits around the eyelid -- were 57% more likely to have a heart attack and 39% more likely to develop heart disease over a 35-year period.

Two common signs of aging -- graying of the hair and wrinkles -- were not linked to increased heart risks.

The study doesn’t prove that aging signs cause heart disease or vice versa. "But looking old for your age is a marker of poor [heart] health," says researcher head Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Copenhagen.

Kathy Maglite, MD, MBA, director of women's cardiac services at St. John's Health Center in Los Angeles, says the findings are a reminder to doctors "to look at their patients."

"Sometimes, doctors are so busy putting the blood pressure cuff on, and so on, that we forget to step back and take in the patient's overall appearance. When I do, I notice that people having heart surgery look old for their age," she says.

The findings were presented here at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012.

Aging and Heart Health: Details

The study involved about 11,000 men and women aged 40 years and older in 1976 to 1978. Nurses and laboratory technicians rated the quantity of gray hair, prominence of wrinkles, the type and extent of baldness, and the presence of earlobe crease and eyelid deposits.

Of the total, 7,537 had receding hairline at the temples, 3,938 had crown top baldness, 3,405 had earlobe crease, and 678 had fatty deposits around the eye.

Over the next 35 years, 3,401 people developed heart disease and 1,708 had a heart attack.

These signs predicted heart attack and heart disease independent of traditional risk factors, including age, sex, obesity, family history of heart disease, and others.

Today on WebMD

hdl letters stacked up
How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
heart rate
What’s normal? What’s not?
Lower Cholesterol 02
Heart Foods Slideshow
Compressed heart
doctor looking at xrays
Heart Disease And Ed
Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
lowering blood pressure
Wide Awake For Heart Surgery