Cardiologists joke that the first symptom of a heart attack is most often the heart attack itself. Thankfully, this is not exactly true. Our bodies give us small hints that can save us from big problems: the important thing is to notice them. A small crease on the ear, barely visible white spots, or excessive yawning — the symptoms can be unusual and seemingly innocuous. However, they can help you spot and start to cure heart disease before it’s too late.
We at FoxSumo have found out which hidden signs can help identify heart disease.
Small fatty specks on the eyelids, buttocks, elbows, or knees are called xanthomas and are actually harmless. However, these fat deposits indicate an excess of cholesterol so large that the vessels can no longer hold it and start dropping it under the skin. This means the vessels need urgent help. They are most likely already afflicted with atherosclerosis, which can lead to big cardiac problems.
02. Yawning during intense exercise
When the body sweats, it cools down due to moisture evaporating from the skin surface. But the human body also has other ways of cooling itself, like yawning. This helps saturate the body with oxygen and reduce the temperature inside the head. If the natural thermoregulation mechanism fails to cope during exercising, we start to yawn. There can be several reasons for thermoregulation failure and potential heart disease is one of them.
03. Bad breath
Gum inflammation, or periodontitis, can lead to bad breath or even tooth loss. But these are not all the possible consequences of the disease. New evidence shows a connection between gum and heart diseases. The fact is that bacteria from inflamed gums can get into the cardiovascular system and start inflammation in a new place. The risk of heart disease in individuals with periodontitis is higher by 20%. No matter how intimidating a visit to the dentist may sound, for your own good you shouldn’t skip it.
04. No acne during adolescence
This study involves only males, but the results are interesting nevertheless. Those who went through a lot of embarrassment because of acne in adolescence have a 33% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease. This is explained by hormonal activity which has an influence on all of our body’s systems.
05. Ring finger length
If the ring finger is significantly shorter than the index finger, the risk of heart disease is higher. This strange correlation was discovered by British researchers. Finger length is determined by the amount of testosterone during embryonic development, and the hormonal system affects the cardiovascular one.
06. Blue lips
Even a healthy person’s lips can become blue because of hypothermia or when at a high altitude. This happens because we have low blood oxygen levels and poor circulation under these extreme conditions. But if your lips turn blue for no apparent reason, it means you have poor blood circulation and you should consider paying a visit to a cardiologist to check out your heart and vessels.
07. Changes in your nails
If your nails are becoming thicker and rounder, you may want to pay more attention to them. These changes are associated with vascular problems and the likeliest reason is that your fingertips are not getting enough blood supply, which leads to an increase in the growth of your nail plates. This symptom has been known for thousands of years and is called Hippocratic fingers.
08. Ear lobe crease
More than 40 studies confirm that the diagonal ear lobe crease, also known as Frank’s sign, indicates an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaques form inside arteries, hindering blood flow. New research also reveals a connection of these creases with cerebral vessel disease, so you should consider going through a thorough examination if this symptom is found.
09. Ear hair
Ears can tell a lot about your health condition and Indian researchers pay close attention to this prominent body organ. They conducted a study to determine the relationship between coronary syndrome and increased ear hair growth. They found out that a sharp increase in the amount of ear canal hair can be a symptom of this disease. Especially dangerous is the combination of Frank’s sign and a large amount of ear hair: visit a cardiologist as soon as possible if you have both of these.
10. Infectious tooth diseases
Researchers from Helsinki have proven the relationship between apical periodontitis (a root canal infection) and coronary syndrome. People with this tooth disease were 2.7 times more likely to have coronary circulation problems. The connection between tooth loss and cardiac problems has also been postulated by Australian researchers, so don’t miss your appointment with the dentist.
11. Hair loss
One of the most unusual symptoms of heart problems is early or rapid hair loss in men. There have been more than 800 studies on hair loss and some of them found that it can be caused by vascular diseases. Baldness can also be a sign of increased sensitivity to testosterone or incipient diabetes. All of these can turn into heart problems: with early hair loss, the risk of these diseases increases by up to 70%.
12. Gray hair
Hair has another way of showing potential heart problems: it turns gray. The European Society of Cardiology presented research proving that gray hair can be associated with cardiac diseases like coronary syndrome, ischemic disease, and atherosclerosis. Heart problems and gray hair are caused by the same factors: oxidative stress, the aging of functional cells, hormonal changes, and other issues. The risk group includes men with predominantly gray hair and those who have as much gray hair as hair of their original color.
As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Granted, you shouldn’t panic if you realize you have one of these signs, but it never hurts to go and check with a doctor. Or maybe you recognize some of the symptoms in your friends and relatives? Share this article with them and spread awareness!