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Old 05-12-2007, 10:56 AM   #1
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Freaked out by earlobe crease

Folks,

I am a 45 year old man, 188 lbs, in generally good health and physical condition. Eat healthy, do extensive cardio every day, take supplements. Cholesterol total 190, LDL 122, HDL 52, Triglycerides 95. BP around 124/74 average.

During last couple months the infamous diagnol earlobe crease has appeared on my right earlobe. It is not deep, but it is visible up close. It also seems more pronounced when I wake up, and less so by the end of the day.

Anyway I am freaking out over this given all the stuff I've read about this being a harbinger of sudden cardiac death if it appears before the age of 60. In February I had a cardiolite stress test that showed "normal," ejection fraction of 70, no left ventricle problems, etc.

My doctor laughed when I mentioned this. A friend's doctor told him to tell me I have about 5 years left!!! I doubt I can get a doctor to approve an angiogram based on this, but I am worried I am a ticking time bomb now.

acp

 
Old 05-12-2007, 06:36 PM   #2
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

that's only if the crease is diagonal.. the risk only rises 55%, therefore with the way you are taking care of yourself, you are AOK.

 
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Old 05-13-2007, 04:31 AM   #3
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

acp,

I read about the creases, and lo and behold I found TWO deep diagonal creases. This was my last straw and after years of clasic angina symptoms even after a good stress test result (but not nuclear) I demanded a catheter angiogram and found out my RCA was completely blocked.
After my stent the crease in my RIGHT ear disappeared.

Let the doctors laugh all they wish, there's something TO this correlation.

At least YOUR cholesterol numbers are far better than mine before the Lipitor: TC 265, HDL 28 for a risk ratio of 9.5!

DON'T have an angiogram without symptoms...the risk/benefit ratio is too big and the out-of-pocket cost is too high without insurance coverage (You're right- they WON'T coverr it).
Keep up the hard cardio work and keep an eye on your cholesterol... make sure it stays at least as good as it is now. You might be wise to make the assumption that you HAVE heart disease and push the LDL's down below the 100 level to stop plaque buildup in its tracks.

The cardiolite stress test normalcy is VERY good news...

If 10 years from now you start developing some angina, then maybe the time will be ripe for an angiogram.

 
Old 05-13-2007, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin View Post
acp,

I read about the creases, and lo and behold I found TWO deep diagonal creases. This was my last straw and after years of clasic angina symptoms even after a good stress test result (but not nuclear) I demanded a catheter angiogram and found out my RCA was completely blocked.
After my stent the crease in my RIGHT ear disappeared.

Let the doctors laugh all they wish, there's something TO this correlation.

At least YOUR cholesterol numbers are far better than mine before the Lipitor: TC 265, HDL 28 for a risk ratio of 9.5!

DON'T have an angiogram without symptoms...the risk/benefit ratio is too big and the out-of-pocket cost is too high without insurance coverage (You're right- they WON'T coverr it).
Keep up the hard cardio work and keep an eye on your cholesterol... make sure it stays at least as good as it is now. You might be wise to make the assumption that you HAVE heart disease and push the LDL's down below the 100 level to stop plaque buildup in its tracks.

The cardiolite stress test normalcy is VERY good news...

If 10 years from now you start developing some angina, then maybe the time will be ripe for an angiogram.

Thanks much for the input. No angina symptoms yet, knock wood. I typically get my heart rate up to 166 when doing daily cardio, and not even mild discomfort.

The crease is actually more of a faint X as there is an even fainter line running horizontal right across it! I'm a little superstitious so I am sure this means bad news!

The cholesterol reading was from summer of 2006...am waiting results on new test from 2 weeks ago (guessing that if numbers were high doc would have called). If they are high, that will certainly feed the earlobe crease connection.

Family history is mixed; dad is 79 and heart disease free, healthy as a horse. Mom died at 68 of a heart attack...had smoked until 60, was overweight, and had high cholesterol, and very high stress. Sis is 50 and heart disease free, as is brother at 48.

I've been taking grapefruit pectin and pomegranite juice, given anecdotal evidence re plaque reduction. Curious if there is anything non-medical that can regress plaque, beyond the tough Ornish diet?

 
Old 05-14-2007, 06:25 AM   #5
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

I'm thinking maybe HALF an Ornish Diet...like adding fish and skinless chicken to a low calorie vegan diet might be better than no Ornish at all.
Can't hurt!

Last edited by Lenin; 05-14-2007 at 06:25 AM.

 
Old 05-14-2007, 07:00 AM   #6
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenin View Post
I'm thinking maybe HALF an Ornish Diet...like adding fish and skinless chicken to a low calorie vegan diet might be better than no Ornish at all.
Can't hurt!
Funny you should mention that. Something I read said that people who did just that experienced NO plaque reduction, vs. the true Ornish vegan recommendations. Depressing.

 
Old 05-14-2007, 03:03 PM   #7
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Quote:
Originally Posted by acp44 View Post
Funny you should mention that. Something I read said that people who did just that experienced NO plaque reduction, vs. the true Ornish vegan recommendations. Depressing.
Awww, NUTS!
Oh well, Lipitor still works.

Last edited by Lenin; 05-14-2007 at 03:04 PM.

 
Old 05-14-2007, 05:13 PM   #8
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Lenin, if you don't mind me asking what were your symptoms before you had your stent put in? Was your BP high? Was your cholesterol high? Did you get breathless climbing stairs? It sounds like the stress tests aren't very accurate. I asked a cardiologist at what age I should start having tests given my family history (father had triple bypass at 56). He said I should wait until I show some signs like high blood pressure, cholesterol etc. But I'm not sure these things are accurate indicators. We score our cholesterol differently in Australia - mine is 4.8 - didn't get the breakdown from the dr's. And what does angina feel like? I get all sorts of vague symptoms but sometimes I wonder if it's all in my head because I read these boards and because i'm paranoid. And don't tell me to run as hard as I can for 5 minutes because I can't run at all - never could - even as a kid.

This earlobe crease thingy has got me freaked too.

 
Old 05-15-2007, 06:25 AM   #9
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

I am still trying to get info on this earlobe crease. Based on all I have read, I have found the following possibilities:

1. The crease means you have heart disease and probably blockages.

2. The crease is a genetic risk marker that says you MAY get heart disease, but you are not doomed to get it. (This is my own best guess).

3. The crease is caused by collagen loss, and can be manifest as a wrinkle from the side you sleep on (I know that I sleep on the side of mine, and if I lie on that side watching tv, when I get up the crease is worse, but goes back to normal after a bit).

4. The crease means nothing at all, but is inhereited from your parents.


The information out there is so mixed. I see all these medical studies. But then I find out a lot of them are being used as examples of "bad science" in college statistics classes!!!

acp

 
Old 05-15-2007, 12:37 PM   #10
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Dear ACP,

I am a female in my 30s and I have been recently scouring the internet on earlobe crease info. myself. I completely freaked out over this. I am worrying myself to death. I have a diagonal crease in my left ear, and half of one in my right. With me, too, it gets worse after laying down and better at night. (What does that mean? Is blood flow worse when laying down?) I think I have read every article on the net a million times, each time making me more and more scared. I have even been checking out strangers and seem to find it mostly in older men. Unfortunately, I have become so upset and crying over this. I am convinced I have "hidden" CAD. I do have perfectly controlled blood pressure and cholesterol issues, but still scared. I did go and ask a cardiologist at a top hospital about this. He said there is a connection, but it's a statistical connection and there has been no reason found yet for the association (could be any of those things you mentioned). My dad has the creases (65 and no heart trouble), and my younger sister has it (no trouble either). So I am hoping in my case it is somewhow just some "cute" genetic wrinkle. A few years ago I had a stress echo (due to panic attacks), and it was excellent. That is all I have to go on. I wish I would find an article out there that said this whole thing is a bunch of bunk. I can't seem to find one. If anyone out there can make me (us) feel better, it would be much appreciated.

 
Old 05-15-2007, 12:48 PM   #11
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

p.s. I share your frustration with your points 1-4 and the references of bad statistics. I wish there was someone out there we could pose all these questions to!

 
Old 05-15-2007, 01:07 PM   #12
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Yeah it freaks me out too. I had a nuclear stress test in February and it was fine. Just got back some cholesterol results today and they are good: TC 154, LDL 91, HDL 50, Trig. 67.

Yet the earlobe crease "theory" tells me I'm going to keep over from a sudden heart attack soon.

Bear in mind that there are over 300 "risks" associated with heart disease now, and I never expect to meet the person who has all of these covered.

Another thought: go back and look at pics of presidents!

Bush: earlobe creases, and supposedly is as heart-healthy as an 18 year old. Clinton: smooth earlobes and artery clogs.
George HW: ?
Reagan: earlobe creases and no cardio problems.
Eisenhower: smooth earlobes and 5+ heart attacks!

And so forth. So who knows?

acp

 
Old 05-15-2007, 01:20 PM   #13
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Good point! I am curious why you had a nuclear stress test done. Just routine? Your cholesterol numbers look great. I doubt you have any issues. I hope that others see this and have positive feedback to add. My mom points out that if this were such a big thing then there would have been some serious studies done on it by now, proving the connection, not just statistics suggesting it. And, doctors would be checking your ears at each visit.

 
Old 05-15-2007, 01:41 PM   #14
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

Quote:
Originally Posted by k770899 View Post
Good point! I am curious why you had a nuclear stress test done. Just routine? Your cholesterol numbers look great. I doubt you have any issues. I hope that others see this and have positive feedback to add. My mom points out that if this were such a big thing then there would have been some serious studies done on it by now, proving the connection, not just statistics suggesting it. And, doctors would be checking your ears at each visit.
I had the nuke test because I developed severe chest pains while working in my yard, and they suspected angina.

I agree re the follow-up studies, and the curious lack of them. BUT adding to the mystery, there are cardiologists who really do believe this is a marker. Maybe its tied to the gene they just discovered that shows 3/4 of all Caucasians are at risk for heart disease? The crease-effect does appear to vary by race...being an issue for caucasians, none at all for asians, and mixed results for Africans and African-Americans.

All part of the mystery again.

 
Old 05-15-2007, 02:05 PM   #15
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Re: Freaked out by earlobe crease

How did you find that some Cardiologists do think this is a marker? Mine just said there is a statistical association, not proven.

 
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