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Xanthelasmata Predict Death, Ischemic Vascular Disease

Xanthelasmata either alone or combined with arcus corneae predict risk in general population

FRIDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Xanthelasmata either individually or in combination with arcus corneae, but not arcus corneae alone, predict the risk of ischemic vascular disease and death in the general population, according to a study published online Sept. 15 in BMJ.

Mette Christoffersen, from the Rigshospitalet in Denmark, and colleagues investigated whether xanthelasmata (563 cases) and arcus corneae (3,159 cases), either individually or in combination, predict the risk of ischemic vascular disease and death in the general population. A total of 12,745 individuals (aged 20 to 93 years), who were free from vascular disease at baseline, were followed up from 1976-1978 to May 2009. Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated for severe atherosclerosis, and hazard ratios (HR) for 1,872 cases of myocardial infarction (MI), 3,699 ischemic heart disease (IHD), 1,498 ischemic strokes, 1,815 ischemic cerebrovascular disease (CVD), and 8,507 deaths.

The investigators found that the multifactorially adjusted HRs/ORs for individuals with xanthelasmata versus those without, and for individuals with combined xanthelasmata and arcus corneae versus those without were 1.48 and 1.47 (MI), 1.39 and 1.56 (IHD), 0.94 and 0.87 (ischemic stroke), 0.91 and 0.86 (ischemic CVD), 1.69 and 2.75 (severe atherosclerosis), and 1.14 and 1.09 (death), respectively. The ratios for arcus corneae were not significant. The presence of xanthelasmata increased the absolute 10-year risk of MI, IHD, and death in all age-groups and genders. The highest absolute 10-year risks of IHD in individuals aged 70 to 79 years with and without xanthelasmata were 53 and 41 percent, respectively, for men, and 35 and 27 percent, respectively, for women.

"Xanthelasmata predict risk of MI, IHD, severe atherosclerosis, and death in the general population," the authors write.

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