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Suffering from heart disease and having creased earlobes have been linked in a number of ways. First, some researchers suggest that having a creased earlobe is an independent risk factor for the development of heart disease. This subject is somewhat controversial, however, because some experts think that obesity is the underlying reason why heart disease and creased earlobes occur in these patients. Another link between these two conditions is seen in Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which is a genetic disease that causes a number of health problems.
To understand the connection between heart disease and creased earlobes, it is important to recognize what a creased earlobe is. In short, it is an abnormal fold in the earlobe. These creases typically extend from the bottom of the earlobe in an upward direction towards the front of the body, typically at approximately a 45 degree angle. Professionals in the health care field refer to this type of creased earlobe as a diagonal earlobe crease.
Some researchers have suggested that patients with earlobe creases are at an increased risk for heart disease. Most studies have linked the abnormal earlobes to ischemic heart disease, a condition in which the muscle of the heart does not get enough blood flow to work properly. Ischemic heart disease often results from atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaques in the blood vessels of the body. The condition can result in congestive heart failure (CHF) or a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI).
The initial research into the connection between earlobe creases and heart disease was done in the 1980s. Investigators found that patients who died as a result of ischemic heart disease had a higher prevalence of earlobe creases. They suggested that the presence of a diagonal earlobe crease could be a sign that a patient suffers from heart disease, and hypothesized that it could be used as a screening tool to identify patients at risk for complications of heart disease.
Over the years, the link between having a creased earlobe and heart disease has been questioned. Some experts think that creased earlobes develop as a result of obesity. They suggest that the increased rate of heart disease found in patients with earlobe creases can be attributed to being overweight.
Another link between heart disease and creased earlobes is a genetic disease called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. This condition is present from birth, and causes alterations in normal growth patterns. Patients with the disease often have earlobe creases or pits in their earlobes. They additionally suffer from abnormalities of the heart muscle, which can result in a variety of heart diseases.