September 25, 2021
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Warning signs can appear on your skin and nails, which is why your dermatologist may be the first doctor to notice that you have heart disease. If you know what to look for, you can also find warning signs of heart disease on your skin and nails. The following pictures show you what to look for.
1. Swelling in your feet and lower legs
Many diseases of the heart cause fluid to build up in your feet and lower legs. As the fluid builds up, you may see swelling, which can extend as far as the upper legs and groin.
2. Blue or purple color on your skin
When you’re extremely cold, your skin can turn blue (or purple). If an area of your skin is blue (or purple) when you’re warm, that’s can be a sign your blood isn’t getting enough oxygen. The patient in this photo has a condition known as blue toe syndrome, which happens when one or more blood vessels are blocked.
Without treatment, the lack of oxygen can cause the skin and underlying tissue to eventually die.
3. Blue or purple net-like pattern on your skin
Some people see this pattern on their skin when they feel chilly. When their skin warms up, this pattern disappears. It’s also possible to see this pattern when taking certain medications. If one of these is causing the netlike pattern, it’s usually nothing to worry about.
This netlike pattern can also be a sign of a disease called cholesterol embolization syndrome, which occurs when small arteries become blocked. The blockage can lead to damaged tissues and organs, so it’s important to see a doctor to find out whether you have an undiagnosed disease.
4. Yellowish-orange, waxy growths on your skin
If you see yellowish-orange growths on your skin, you may have deposits of cholesterol under your skin. These painless deposits can appear in many areas, including the corners of your eyes, lines on your palms, or the backs of your lower legs.
If you notice these growths on any area of your skin, see your doctor. You may need cholesterol testing or another medical test. Unhealthy cholesterol levels require treatment, which can prevent life-threatening heart disease. Getting your cholesterol levels under control may also help clear the growths on your skin. If the growths don’t clear, a board-certified dermatologist can treat them.
5. Clusters of waxy bumps that suddenly appear on your skin
The sudden appearance of these bumps can look like a rash, warts, or a contagious skin condition called molluscum contagiosum. These bumps are actually fatty deposits of cholesterol caused by extremely high levels of triglycerides (type of cholesterol) in the blood.
Treatment is essential to lower the triglycerides and treat any serious medical conditions, such as heart disease caused by the high cholesterol levels.
6. Nails curve downward and the ends of your fingers are swollen
For many people, these signs are harmless. That said, if your fingers and nails look like this, it’s best to find out if you may have a medical condition, such as lung disease or a heart problem.
7. Red or purple lines under your nails
When it’s a sign of heart disease, people tend to have symptoms, such as high fever and a weak or irregular heartbeat.
8. Smooth, waxy lumps on your skin
These waxy lumps can appear anywhere on the skin. They often indicate that there’s an abnormal buildup of protein in an organ, such as your heart. If protein builds up in the heart, it’s hard for the heart to work properly.
9. Painful lumps in your fingers, toes, or both
If you have a heart infection known as infective endocarditis, these painful lumps can develop in your fingers, toes, or both places. The lumps can last for a few hours to several days.
While the lumps go away on their own, patients need treatment for the infection. Because this infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics can often treat it. Sometimes, surgery is also necessary.
10. Brownish (or reddish) discoloration, usually on your sole(s) or palm(s)
The spots that developed on the bottom of this patient’s foot are also a sign of a heart infection called infective endocarditis. Unlike Osler nodules, these spots are painless. These spots will clear without treatment, usually in a few days or weeks. The infection requires treatment.
11. Non-itchy rash (flat spots with slightly raised edges) and fever
If your child develops strep throat, treating it quickly is important. When it’s not treated quickly, other medical problems can develop. One such problem is rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is common in developing countries.
When a child has rheumatic fever, it can lead to lifelong heart disease. Rheumatic fever is a leading cause of heart disease in children.
12. Rash and cracked, swollen lips that often bleed
When a child has a rash, fever, and extremely dry lips that may crack and bleed, Kawasaki disease is a likely cause. This disease, which affects the blood vessels, usually develops in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years of age.
While Kawasaki disease may go away on its own within 12 days without treatment, it can lead to serious side effects, such as heart disease.
Other signs that appear on the skin and can be a warning sign of heart disease, include:
If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment to see your primary doctor and try to stay calm. The sign could be harmless, but it’s important to get it checked out. Heart disease is easier to treat when found early.
Source: American Academy of Dermatology Association
Stellapharm is one of leading generics pharmaceutical companies and strong producer of anti-viral drugs in Vietnam. The company established in Vietnam in 2000; and focuses on both prescription drugs and non-prescription especially in cardiovascular diseases, antiviral drugs, anti-diabetics drugs, etc. and our products are now used by millions of patients in more than 50 countries worldwide.
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Additional information for this article: Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd. – Branch 1
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