How Your Ears Can Predict Your Chances of a Heart Attack

A study to be published in next month’s American Journal of Cardiology has confirmed that earlobe creases are associated with coronary artery disease. This research upholds the findings of several other studies, including a 2006 Swedish study, which showed that earlobe creases as a marker for heart disease had a positive predictive value of 80% in people under 40 years old.

The marker is a diagonal crease running from the opening of the ear to the outside tip of the earlobe and is not associated with sleeping position or the wearing of earrings. Having the marker is a higher risk factor than having a family history of heart problems, diabetes or even smoking.

It is not fully understood what causes the crease but it’s probable that it indicates premature aging. The soft tissue of the earlobe contains tiny blood vessels called arterioles and degeneration of the tissue surrounding the arterioles causes the wrinkle to appear. This is similar to the type of change associated with the hardening of the arteries and so is perhaps an insight into what is happening inside the body.

Certain retinal disorders have long been known to correlate with heart disease incidence and now it seems the earlobes are another window to the heart. The association between the earlobe marker and the incidence of heart disease is so strong that it could be a significant independent predictor of any coronary artery disease, according to the authors of the study.

I bet you go and look in the mirror right now…

2 Responses to How Your Ears Can Predict Your Chances of a Heart Attack

  1. Carolyn Thomas says:

    I think this is fascinating! You’re right – I had to run and check my own earlobes in the mirror. Oooops, too late – I have already survived a heart attack, back in 2008.

    But other odd but acknowledged risk factors that may also predict increased cardiovascular disease risk include short ring finger length in men, male pattern baldness (about 9% higher rates of heart disease compared to their hairy counterparts), absence of teenage acne (about 30% lower risk of dying of heart disease later in life) and many other surprisingly weird and wonderful little-known factors.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!
    Carolyn Thomas

  2. Jenny Gawley says:

    I’m really happy you enjoyed it, and that you survived a heart attack! Another potential risk factor is bad breath! Well, peridontal disease anyway as bacteria that can enter the bloodstream through the gums has been found in artery plaques. Studies have shown that people with a high level of a certain type of bacteria in their mouths have higher levels of heart disease. Better all get flossing then!
    Keep well,

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