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Several small lines on both ear lobes, overweight. Is this serious, advise?

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Practicing since : 1981
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Hi I have several small lines on both ear lobes. They are quite faint and do not run right across my lobes. I am 51. And a non smoker. I am slightly overweight. I do not drink heavily but have done in the past.
Posted Wed, 11 Jul 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 3 hours later
Hi there,
Good Morning. Good to have written to us.
I am a cardiologist and read your question with interest and diligence. Let me first to the point whether ear lobe small lines represent heart disease. Searching the medical literature I found that, earlobe creases shouldn’t be dismissed lightly, as they fall into the surprisingly large category of weird signs possibly indicative of heart disease. Medical literature revealed that:
Earlobe crease (ELC), i.e., a line running diagonally from the bottom of the ear opening to the ear's lower tip has some status as a predictor as indicated by:
•A Swedish study of 520 autopsies found ELC had a "positive predictive value" for coronary artery disease of 68 percent — 80 percent in those under 40.
•A Turkish study found ELC was a higher risk factor for heart disease than diabetes, family history of cardiovascular trouble, or smoking.
•Of 340 patients admitted to the Montreal Heart Institute, 91 percent of those with ELC had heart disease versus only 61 percent of those without.
•An Irish study of 247 patients found ELC had a predictive value of 71 percent for heart disease, showing what statisticians call low sensitivity but high specificity.

Translated: if you don't have ELC, that doesn't necessarily mean you don’t have heart disease, but if you do have ELC, it's a pretty good bet you do. (To be fair, other research hasn't found as strong a correlation.)

Why a connection between ELC and heart disease? Nobody knows. The most plausible theory I've heard is that ELC indicates premature aging.

You do not have congenital heart disease (can not remain undetected till the age 51 in a country like United Kingdom. Rheumatic Heart Disease does not exist any longer in your part of the world] Therefore we are left with coronary artery disease.

At any age, following is the list of risk factors for future development of Coronary Artery Disease. Let me enumerate and you can place yourself the risk you are carrying ('*' means you have the risk factor, '+/-' means I do not know but you could be having and about others you know better marked - for the time being):-

Diabetes +/-
Hypertension +/-
Obesity and Sedentary Life Style*
High Bad Cholesterol and Lipid Component +/-
Total Cholesterol above 190 mg%, LDL above 130 mg%, VLDL above 40 mg%,
Triglycerides above 150 mg%, Apolipoprotein B above reference value
Low Good Cholesterol and Lipid Component: +/-
Apolipoprotein a below reference range for the lab and
HDL below 40 mg% for man & and 50 mg% for woman
Family History 0f Coronary Heart Disease +/-
Increasing age*
Being a Man (as opposed to women) till the age 45*

From the list, above you have some risk factors. Obesity and possible sedentary life style you have identified. Therefore, I will strongly recommend consulting your doctor; he may complete the list as well do the EKG which may tell us the cause of pain.
It is never too late to change. With your weight everything you do will have to be under supervision. It need not be cardiologist but your primary doctor can guide your way back to health - I am happy to read that. You may need drugs and he/she (or ask the dietitian) to advise you about diet low in calories and cholesterol, advise you on quantum of exercise. You ought to keep your weight under control for you do not a heart attack. If you like non vegetarian you cannot take red meat but there is no prohibition (in taking certainly quantity had to be less) on egg white, roasted chicken and roasted fish.

Hope you found something useful in this answer. If you have any follow-up query I shall be happy to answer.

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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