April 23, 2014
Man cupping his ear and listening
Ask the Experts

Heart Disease and Ear Creases

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Q: I heard a news report that a diagonal crease on the earlobe is a sign of higher risk of heart disease. Is this true?

A: This notion, which the Wellness Letter first discussed 25 years ago, seems to pop up every 10 years or so.

In the past, several studies found that people, especially men, who have a deep diagonal crease across their earlobes are at increased risk for heart disease. However, some other studies have not found a link. In any case, this is merely an association, and there is no clear explanation for the proposed risk.

Periodically, similar types of associations are reported. For instance, baldness, shortness and premature gray hair have also been linked to coronary risk. Such claims are usually based on limited and/or contradictory research.

If you have creased earlobes (and even if you don’t), it can’t hurt to talk to your health care provider about your risk factors for heart disease. But don’t let such worries distract you from the big, proven cardiac risk factors—such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity—which you can do something about.