What’s the connection between ear lobes and heart disease?

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Thick ear lobes contain fat and cholesterol

thick ear lobes can be a red flag:

While cholesterol and fats are being deposited in the inner lining of the arteries, they can also be deposited in the ear lobes, making them thicker.

Do you have thick ear lobes?

One of our patients said, “Those ear lobes saved my life.” After hearing his ear lobes were a red flag for heart disease, he got tested. He had more artery disease than 99% of guys his age. Now his arteries are getting better. Click the “Reversing Heart Disease” video to hear his story. You can see his artery trending report here.

If you have thick ear lobes or a diagonal crease in your ear lobes, you should consider getting tested to determine what level of risk you carry.

To find out more about our risk assessment process, click the "I have thick ear lobes" button below.

other causes of thick ear lobes:

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Thick ear lobes (especially if only one side is thick) can be caused by infection. Is the ear lobe red or warm to the touch or tender? If so, see your health care provider..  

Allergies to metals in ear jewelry can also cause inflammation of the ear lobes, typically (but not always) on both sides.

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Do you have a diagonal crease in your ear lobes?

Eventually, as people get older, their thick ear lobes can develop a diagonal crease, called “Frank’s crease” or “Frank’s sign (1).” By the time Frank’s sign appears, there is an extremely strong association with heart disease, more than just a red flag. This study (2) found that 78% of people with Frank’s ear lobe crease had heart disease. An autopsy study in Sweden also found a strong association with coronary disease and sudden cardiac death (3).

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If you have a diagonal crease in your ear lobes, you need to get tested. This disease kills one out of three people. Don’t leave it to chance

do you know someone with thick ear lobes?

Do you know someone with a diagonal crease in their ear lobes?

Ask them the question: "Are you CardioSound?" Or send them a link to this page. You just might save a life.

ear lobes are just one risk factor:

Although having thick ear lobes is one risk factor for heart disease, normal sized ear lobes does not reduce your risk. The absence of Frank’s ear lobe crease does not mean you do not have heart disease. Lots of people with normal ear lobes have heart attacks.

If you have a family history of heart disease, or other risk factors, consider getting tested to determine what level of risk you carry.

At CardioSound, we can tell you what level of risk you carry. Testing requires a genetic blood test (which we can do anywhere in the U.S.) and a trip to Atlanta, Georgia. If your risk is high, then we can help you. Or we can help your local doctor reduce your risk.

References:

  1. Dr. Frank first described the association between ear lob creases and coronary risk factors. 19 of 20 patients with ear lobe creases had at least one risk factor for coronary disease. Frank ST Aural sign of coronary artery disease. N Engl J Med 1973;289:327-8

  2. This study of 430 patients with no known coronary disease showed that diagonal ear lobe creases predicted the presence, extent and severity of coronary disease with 78% sensitivity. Compare that to a nuclear stress test, which predicts severe coronary disease with 80% sensitivity (and costs a lot more). Haim Shmilovich , et. al. Relation of Diagonal Ear Lobe Crease to the Presence, Extent, and Severity of Coronary Artery Disease Determined by Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography The American Journal of Cardiology, Volume 109, Issue 9, 2012, 1283 - 1287

  3. Edston E., et al. The earlobe crease, coronary artery disease, and sudden cardiac death: an autopsy study of 520 individuals. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 2006;27:129-33