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Are Earlobe Markings a Sign of Heart Disease?

written by: kristineb • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/1/2011

Is there a link between earlobe creases and coronary heart disease? Learn what research has to say.

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    Introduction

    If you're wondering if you have heart disease, you might want to check your earlobe. Earlobe markings may be a sign of heart disease according to research.

    The link between earlobe creases and heart disease isn't clear though. The theory first gained popularity in the 1950s with a population study that linked earlobe creases to coronary heart disease, but more recent studies say that no correlation exists. For example, the Medline Plus dictionary passage for earlobe creases asserts that some critics say that older people have a higher chance of having earlobe creases and that older people also have a higher chance of having heart disease but that no true link exists between the two.

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    Research Studies on Earlobe Signs of Heart Disease

    Dr. William Elliott is responsible for the idea that earlobe creases might be linked to heart disease. According to an article on the University of Alabama-Birmingham website, he conducted a study of 108 people over eight years and found a link between creases on the earlobes and heart disease. They said that people with diagonal earlobe creases had a higher chance of having coronary heart disease looking at his study results.

    In his original study, Elliot found that people with earlobe creases were more likely to die from heart disease. He guessed that this might be caused by the lack of elastin which affected both the ear and the heart, but wasn't sure what caused the link. In a follow-up study, he looked at 1000 people admitted to the hospital for a variety of reasons. This study also found a link. In fact, 74 percent of patients with earlobe creases also had coronary heart disease

    Other researchers have looked at earlobe creases and coronary heart disease as well. For example, a 1992 paper by Moras McCormack reported the results of his study. He looked at 247 patients admitted to the hospital for a variety of issues. He found a significant link between coronary heart disease and earlobe creases. He found no difference between males and females that had both coronary heart disease and earlobe creases. The study recommends that earlobe creases be used as a predictive sign, but not a diagnostic test.

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    Predictive Value of Earlobe Creases for Coronary Heart Disease

    Despite the studies that have shown a link between coronary heart disease and earlobe creases, it is still not used as a predictive value.

    Researchers are unsure of why the link exists. Earlobe creases could simply have been more prevalent in people with heart disease because creases are more common with elderly people and elderly people have more cases of heart disease. Important to note as well, the large study by Elliot didn't find an increased link with people that had other heart disease factors and warning signs.

    In the studies, not everyone with a earlobe crease had heart disease so earlobe creases can not be used as a firm predictive value. People with earlobe creases should however be on the look out for other signs and attempt to live a heart healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and a low-fat diet.