Diagonal Ear Lobe Creases: Signs of Heart Disease?

A comment at a recent meeting of my weight loss group sent me to the computer for a little research.  The comment:  “Dr. Oz said that if you have a diagonal crease in your ear lobe, you have a higher risk of heart disease.”

At first, I thought it sounded pretty crazy, but after looking into it a bit, I’m not sure.  There is reputable research to support the claim.  (I was hoping to find a bogus site with crazy claims, because, on inspection of my own ear lobes, I see that I do have a crease in both of them.)

Several studies found that the ear lobe creases were much more likely in people who died of heart disease.  There are varied statistics given, depending on the study, but the presence of creases seems to be associated with a significantly higher risk.

Researchers speculate that it may have to do with blood flow restriction in the capillaries of the ear, supposedly indicating possible vessel problems elsewhere in the body.  Some even say that it is a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular disease than family history, smoking, or cholesterol level.  Wow!  I hope not.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a source of information I have always respected, 90% of people with ear creases who complained of chest pain were diagnosed with heart attacks.  Only 10% of those without creases who experienced similar pain symptoms were actually having heart attacks.

On the other side of the argument, ear creases tend to be associated with increasing age, which is also associated with a higher risk.  Lifestyle still matters.  It may be that diagonal ear lobe creases are an indicator of genetic risk, but not a signal of certain outcome.

I will continue to do all I can to balance life’s pleasures with a healthy lifestyle – and, I should add, to manage stress regarding health concerns!  I plan to discuss this with my doctor at my next visit.  In the meantime, I am not going to lose sleep over it.  It is an interesting topic, and I do think it is worth staying tuned for updated research.

Coincidentally, when this information was shared with my group, we had just been discussing the benefits of apples, particularly for heart health.  Ever since then, I have been an apple a day girl!  There was a recent study that found a reduction in heart disease risk among women who ate an apple a day.

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10 responses to “Diagonal Ear Lobe Creases: Signs of Heart Disease?

  1. Granny Smith are my favorite!
    I’ve heard that story back when my father had his first heart attack in the late 70s. He also had the creases in the ears. But he also had a lot of belly fat, was a type A personality, smoked, drank and ate very unhealthy. I believe that if the ear creases do infact predict any heart disease its only one variable. As you know there’s so many other things to consider when talking about heart disease. Taking care of yourself over all, I think, surpasses any ear creases. 🙂

  2. kimthedietitian

    I would like to think so! If not, there’s not much I can do anyway.

  3. I remember the so-called ‘cardiac crease’ being pointed out to me by pathologists in countless autopsies … to be honest, though, I never thought to look in cases where death was not already reckoned to be heart-related.

    • That would be an interesting study. When I try to make sense of all the research regarding risk factors, it seems that it is too complex to predict with a single, or even a couple, of lab values or physical characteristics. Wouldn’t we all like to understand the human body with certainty? I’m skeptical that we will ever be sure.

  4. Heart diseases in people having diagonal ear lobe creases could also depend on they are bent towards unhealthy habits in daily life!

    • Yes, I agree. There are so many factors involved. It may be an indicator of poor circulation to the extremities, but I also believe that many people just get creases as they age. Thanks for your comment.

  5. so I also have the crease although I have recently changed my lifestyle to be VERY healthy. My last physical showed perfect BP and an excellent cholesterol ratio (although the bad was still a bit high) but the crease hasn’t gone away so I wonder if I’m just stuck with it and it no longer indicates anything. Time will tell I guess. (fingers crossed) 🙂

    • My belief is that this is not an entirely reliable way of determining risk, and that we all get some creasing as we age. Keeping a healthy lifestyle and continuing to have good lab values probably means a lot more. Blood pressure is very important. I don’t think creases leave once they have formed, regardless of how they got there. It sounds like you are doing a good job – that’s all we can do. Be happy! That helps a lot.

  6. I’ve had creases very deep on my earlobes ever since I was a kid and now at age 70 I had the test going in from my thigh to my heart to check my blood vessels and the doctor said they’re as good as if I was just 20 years old. I have the ear lobe creases but my heart and bloodpressure and cholesterol are great. So in my case my mom had the deep earlobe creases too n was fine heartwise too n so is my 49 yr old son with earlobe creases too. So it must be like that in our ears for some other reason. Maybe a dog bit our earlobes!!!

    • That is hopeful news for those of us with creases. Like so much that tries to predict heart disease with one factor, it is not conclusive. Besides, what are we to do anyway? Exercise, eat right, and not smoke – creases or no creases.

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