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Signs of Heart Trouble

By , Caring.com contributing editor
Last updated: November 09, 2012
mirror woman

Though you can't see your heart, you can get some clues to how healthy it is by looking in the mirror. Results from a study that followed 10,000 people for 35 years suggest that adults with visible signs of aging are more likely to develop heart disease and heart attack.

These are the four danger signs, say Danish researchers:

1. Baldness at the crown: That's at the very top of the head. Hair loss may be linked to testosterone in the blood.

2. Receding hairline: Receding hair at the temples was the red flag.

3. Earlobe crease: Other studies have also suggested this.

4. Fatty deposits around the eyelids: Called xanthelasma, or "cholesterol bumps," these yellowish patches are often mistaken for a stye. They're one of the more surprising things your eyes can reveal about your overall health.

Having at least three of these four signs is linked to a 57% increased risk for heart attack and a 39% increased risk for heart disease when other risk factors were accounted for.

In a nutshell, looking old for your age marks poor cardiovascular age, said lead researcher Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen of the University of Copenhagen, presenting at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012.

Men ages 70 to 79 should be especially wary: 45% of those with all four signs developed heart disease, compared with less than a third of those with no signs. Doctors are being encouraged to look out for this pattern.

Learn other signs of an unhealthy heart.

The "silver" lining: Two incredibly common sights in adulthood, wrinkles and gray hair, were also studied -- but neither of them seems to be linked to heart health.