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Facial Wrinkles Linked to Lung Diseases

British scientists have discovered that wrinkles are not only unsightly, they alse signal the dangerous lung disease risk.

Middle-aged smokers whose faces were heavily wrinkled were five times as likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than smokers whose faces were relatively smooth, the study found.

The authors speculated that both lung disease and wrinkling may be linked by a common mechanism, and that facial wrinkling might indicate susceptibility to the potentially deadly lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis, that block the airways and restrict oxygen flow.
Some 13.5 million Americans suffer from chronic lung diseases, and the World Health Organization predicts that the condition will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for chronic lung diseases, and dermatologist have long noted that smoking causes premature aging of the skin.

People with heavy wrinkles are five times more likely to have chronic lung diseases than those without wrinkles. People with facial wrinkling also had triple the risk of suffering from more severe emphysema.

The authors theorized that smoking-linked changes in cells' collagen and elastin may be important for the development of both lung disease and wrinkles.