Yellow markings on the eyelids are a sign of increased risk of heart attack and other illnesses, say researchers in Denmark
(taken from BBC News website 15.09.2011)
A study published on the BMJ website showed patients with xanthelasmata were 48% more likely to have a heart attack.
Xanthelasmata, which are mostly made up of cholesterol, could be a sign of other fatty build-ups in the body.
Cardiologists said the findings could be used by doctors to help diagnose at-risk patients.
The research team at the Herlev Hospital in Denmark started following 12,745 people in the 1970s.
At the start of the study, 4.4% of patients had xanthelasmata.
Thirty three years later, 1,872 had had a heart attack, 3,699 had developed heart disease and 8,507 had died - and the data showed that those with the yellow markings around the eyes were at greatest risk.
Those with the markings were 48% more likely to have a heart attack, 39% more likely to have developed heart disease and 14% more likely to have died during the study.
The authors believe patients with xanthelasmata may be more likely to deposit cholesterol around the body.
A build up of fatty material in the walls of arteries - known as atherosclerosis - leads to stroke and heart attack.
For both men and women in several age groups, the data said there was a one in five chance of developing heart disease in the next decade if the patient had xanthelasmata.
The authors said such patients were "generally considered to be at high risk" and should have "lifestyle changes and treatment to reduce [bad] cholesterol."