Xanthelasmata, Yellow Markings Near Eyelids, Could Be Sign Of Future Heart Attack

09/16/2011 06:37 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

A new study has identified a seemingly unlikely possible sign of an upcoming heart attack: a yellow, raised marking on the eyelid called xanthelasmata.

Denmark researchers found that people with xanthelasmata were 48 percent more likely to have a heart attack than people without the marking. Their finding was published in the British Medical Journal.

Can't picture what xanthelasmata looks like? MSNBC provided this link to some photos.

The marking is actually a build-up of cholesterol, and could be a sign of build-up of other fatty substances elsewhere in the body that could lead to a heart attack, BBC News reported.

In the study, researchers looked at health data from 12,745 people who were part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study. At the start of the study, 4.4 percent of them had xanthelasmata.

After 33 years, researchers found that 1,872 of the people had a heart attack, 3,699 people developed heart disease and 8,507 people died. People with xanthelasmata were 39 percent more likely to develop heart disease and 14 percent more likely to die over the study period, according to the findings.

The xanthelasmata was able to predict heart problems even after taking out factors like cholesterol and obesity, MSNBC reported.

The authors argue that this finding could have real clinical implications since the patches are usually regarded by those who have them as a benign dermatological issue.

Some other hidden signs of future heart disease? Sleeping too much or too little, gum disease, irregular periods and fatigue, according to Heart Healthy Living.


Suggest a correction