HEART attacks could be potentially fatal with many people choosing to delay calling for 999 as they do not believe their symptoms are serious enough to warrant them calling for help. Spotting this sign in your feet could be a warning of something serious which is about to happen.
Heart attacks happen when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of the heart muscle, which is usually the result of harmful substances clogging up the coronary arteries which transport blood to the vital organs.
Without enough blood and oxygen, the heart muscle can be seriously damaged and therefore it is extremely pertinent to be aware of potential signs and symptoms the body gives warning of something sinister on the horizon. There is a lesser known sign of a heart attack which lies in a person’s feet.
Medline Plus said: “Heart disease often develops over time.
“You may have early signs or symptoms long before you have serious heart problems.
“Or, you may not realize you are developing heart disease.
“The warning signs of heart disease may not be obvious and also not every person has the same symptoms.”
If you notice swollen feet, it could potentially be a warning symptom of an impending heart attack.
Retention of fluid in the feet is known as peripheral edema.
Edema may appear as “sock marks” on the ankles at the end of the day, especially if a person has been wearing tight socks so therefore mild peripheral edema is common.
It’s important to speak with your doctor who will be able to check if the swollen ankle could be something more serious.
To check yourself, press a finger against the ankle or shin bone to see if a depression or dent is left behind.
This is known as “pitting edema” and is a good indicator to determine if the swelling is something more serious such as congestive heart failure.
Edema could be a sign of heart failure due to the heart not being able to pump as well.
The fluid from inside the blood vessels tends to lead out into surrounding tissues.
This ankles and feet are common areas for edema due to the effects of gravity.
What the expert said
Dr Carl Orringer, associate professor of medicine and director of the Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and LDL Apheresis Programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said: “Signs like ankle swelling or weight gain do not necessarily mean you have heart disease, but taken together with other symptoms of heart disease, laboratory studies, and family history, they are an important part of making a diagnosis of heart disease or heart failure.
“Peripheral edema may be caused by a host of issues.
“The bottom line is that most people with peripheral edema do not have heart disease, but it could be an important sign if there are other sign and symptoms of heart failure.”
The NHS advised: “Symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain which is when the chest feels like its being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back.
“Other symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling weak or lightheaded, or both or an overwhelming feeling of anxiety.
“It’s important to know that not everyone experiences severe chest pain.
“This is particularly the case with many women and 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.”