March 30, 2010 in Features

Dr. Gott: Are earlobe wrinkles accurate diagnostic tools?

Peter H. Gott, M.D., United Media
 

DEAR DR. GOTT: Are creases in the earlobe always a precursor to heart trouble?

DEAR READER: In a word, no. For more than 50 years (52 to be exact), there has been debate over whether creased earlobes can be tied to coronary-artery disease. In fact, the New York Times printed an article in 1984 on the subject. Physicians in Long Island reported to the New England Journal of Medicine that there was a significant statistical link in men with creased earlobes being diagnosed with heart disease. A crease is identified as a diagonal line that begins where the lobe attaches to the head and then runs backward toward the lower edge of the lobe.

Women are not exempt from creased lobes; however, there doesn’t appear to be any association with heart disease, as there is with men. Ears wrinkle, especially with advanced age. And it is thought the ears wrinkle simply because people commonly sleep on their right or left sides.

We certainly cannot examine every person’s earlobes to exclude coronary-artery disease. The jury is out on the matter, and the medical community all these years later remains divided.

If you or a family member is concerned, make an appointment with your family physician or cardiologist. He or she can certainly glance at your ears, but I would hope the glance would be followed by a full examination, EKG and any other testing deemed appropriate. It is sometimes thought an EKG isn’t necessary until middle age, but I believe a baseline report is always good to have in a patient’s file so it can be checked periodically for changes.

To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Coronary Artery Disease.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my Web site at www.AskDrGottMD.com.

DEAR DR. GOTT: We have read and enjoyed your column for many years. A recent letter involving a wonder drug – vinegar – prompted this note.

I had a pituitary brain tumor last year and had operations followed by 25 days of radiation. The side effect of the radiation was nausea. Expensive prescription pills gave me worse side effects, but eating foods with lots of vinegar was my salvation. Go figure!

Then a specialist checked out a clogged-ear problem I had. I was discovered to have water behind the eardrum, which could not be treated with medication. He wanted to insert tubes. I didn’t want them. So I tried a mixture of vinegar and alcohol drops in my ear, and that cleared up the problem in a few days. Perhaps someone else can benefit from these discoveries.

DEAR READER: I receive praise for vinegar almost daily. Today was a particularly heavy mail day regarding the benefits of this inexpensive product readily available in most kitchen cabinets. Vinegar has been purported to remedy nail infections, athlete’s foot, reflux and a host of other disorders.

Your remedy for combating nausea is a good one worth passing on. As for your blocked ears, I would credit the alcohol, which likely dried up the water and cleared the blockage. Regardless of whether the vinegar, alcohol or the combination of both relieved the symptoms, you avoided having tubes being placed in your ears. Congratulations.

I will continue to pass worthwhile tips on through my column when space allows. Thank you for writing.

To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Compelling Home Remedies.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my Web site at www.AskDrGottMD.com.

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