Heart attacks are serious medical emergencies that require immediate attention from a doctor. You could be at risk of a deadly heart attack if you notice a number of small changes to your skin, it’s been claimed, with peripheral edema being a major warning. What is it?
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A heart attack happens when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked.
The event itself is sudden but the process building up to it is gradual.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of heart attacks, is a condition in which the coronary arteries (the major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood) become clogged with deposits of cholesterol.
Noticing an unusual mark on the skin around your ankles is a potentially early warning sign.
Warning signs which may appear on the skin include blue or purple colour, purple net-like pattern on the skin, yellowish-orange waxy growths on skin.
Swelling in the ankles is another skin warning and the condition creates indentations when you take your socks off.
This condition is known as peripheral edema.
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What is peripheral edema?
Medical News Today explained: “Edema is swelling that occurs when too much fluid becomes trapped in the tissues of the body, particularly the skin.
“Edema usually starts slowly, but onset can be sudden.
“It is a common problem, but it can also be the sign of a serious condition.
“Peripheral edema affects the feet, ankles, legs, hands and arms with signs including swelling, puffiness, and difficulty moving a part of the body.”
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Treatment of peripheral edema will depend on the cause.
Diuretics are a type of medication which could help get rid of the excess fluid by increasing the rate of urine production by the kidneys.
A GP will recommend a specific treatment for the edema.
If your swollen ankles and sock marks are due to an underlying heart issue, it’s imperative to be extra vigilant with any other potential warning signs.
How to prevent a heart attack
Making healthy lifestyle decisions, such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly is a sure-fire way to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
There are also lesser-known risk factors to be aware of.
Research shows that getting too much or too little sleep can raise your risk.
A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that among people ages 40 to 69, those who slept fewer than six hours per night had a 20 percent higher risk of having a first heart attack compared with those who slept six to nine hours.
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