Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly interrupted, and the leading cause of this is coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood become clogged with deposits of cholesterol. Recognising the symptoms of heart disease can help in the prevention of a heart attack developing, and one sign to look out for is blue toe syndrome.
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Blue toe syndrome is one of the warning signs of heart disease, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
It explains: “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.
“Blue toe syndrome 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.”
The medical name for blue toe syndrome is cyanosis.
Blue or purple colouring may also appear in other areas of the body if a person has heart disease.
A blue or purple net-like pattern on the skin could be talking you have a blocked artery.
AAD explains: “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 embolisation syndrome, which occurs when small arteries become blocked.
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“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.”
Heart attack symptoms
Spotting the symptoms of a heart attack can be life-saving.
Symptoms are listed by the NHS as:
- Chest pain – the chest can feel like it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak or lightheaded, or both
- An overwhelming feeling of anxiety
The health body adds: “It’s important to know that not everyone experiences severe chest pain. This is particularly the case with many women. The pain can often be mild and mistaken for indigestion.
“It’s the combination of symptoms that’s important in determining whether a person is having a heart attack and not the severity of chest pain.”
If you suspect a heart attack you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
The NHS advises: “Do not worry if you have doubts. Paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life.”
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