Researchers in Denmark say cholesterol deposits on eyelids — xanthelasmata — may predict a greater chance of heart disease.
The Copenhagen University Hospital and University of Copenhagen researchers point out half of the people with the deposits have normal blood cholesterol levels so the lesions may be an important independent marker of underlying artery disease.
The study established either the presence or absence of xanthelasmata in 12,939 people. Of these, 1,903 developed heart attacks, 3,761 developed ischemic heart disease and 8,663 died during up to 33 years of follow-up.
Xanthelasmata predicted 51 percent increased risk of heart attack and 40 percent increased risk of ischemic heart disease. Those with xanthelasmata also had a 17 percent increased risk of death after adjustments for well-known cardiovascular risk factors, including blood cholesterol levels.