As one might expect, some of the easily measurable, more visible signs of aging tend to reflect a correspondingly greater risk of age-related conditions. Aging is a body-wide process, after all. Different people age at modestly different rates, predominantly due to lifestyle choices involving diet and exercise these days, now that the burden of infectious disease is greatly reduced. Genetic differences do contribute to some degree, but appear to be more important in survival at old age. The aim of any meaningful advance in longevity science is to make all of these natural differences irrelevant, washed out by the benefits of therapies that can slow or reverse various aspects of degenerative aging:
In a new study, those who had three to four aging signs - receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the head's crown, earlobe crease, or yellow fatty deposits around the eyelid (xanthelasmata) - had a 57 percent increased risk for heart attack and a 39 percent increased risk for heart disease. ... "The visible signs of aging reflect physiologic or biological age, not chronological age, and are independent of chronological age."
Researchers analyzed 10,885 participants 40 years and older (45 percent women) in the Copenhagen Heart Study. Of these, 7,537 had frontoparietal baldness (receding hairline at the temples), 3,938 had crown top baldness, 3,405 had earlobe crease, and 678 had fatty deposits around the eye. In 35 years of follow-up, 3,401 participants developed heart disease and 1,708 had a heart attack.
Individually and combined, these signs predicted heart attack and heart disease independent of traditional risk factors. Fatty deposits around the eye were the strongest individual predictor of both heart attack and heart disease. Heart attack and heart disease risk increased with each additional sign of aging in all age groups and among men and women. The highest risk was for those in their 70s and those with multiple signs of aging.