10 Warning Signs Of Heart Disease That Appear On Your Skin


Part of what makes heart disease so scary is that the warning signs are hard to spot. After all, many of the biggest warning signs are hidden inside your body where you cannot see them.

However, some major warning signs might be right in front of you. There’s just one problem: you may not know what you are seeing and what it means until the heart disease has gotten worse!

That’s why we rounded up this list of heart disease warning signs that appear on your skin. If you notice any of these warning signs on your own skin, it’s important to ask your doctor about them right away!

Purple or red lines beneath nails

Have you noticed red or purple lines beneath your nails? Most of the time, these lines are caused by a recent finger or nail injury. But if you haven’t experienced such an injury, these lines may be a warning sign of heart disease.

Not sure if the lines are due to an injury or heart disease? If it’s heart disease, then you are likely to also have a fever and a heartbeat that is either weak or irregular.

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Net-looking patterns on the skin

Ever notice a net-like pattern on your skin? For some people, this happens naturally as a reaction to colder temperatures or certain medications. If you see such a pattern and aren’t dealing with either new medication or cooler temperatures, though, you need to treat this as a major warning sign!

That’s because this pattern is often caused by a blockage in your artery. Or it could be caused by a serious condition known as cholesterol embolization syndrome. Either way, that pattern is a sign to visit your doctor right away.

Swollen fingers with downward-curving nails

Swollen fingers with downward-curving nails is a medical condition known as clubbing. Clubbed fingers may result from chronic low blood levels of oxygen. They can be a warning sign of heart disease, a heart infection, or a lung problem. If your fingers show signs of clubbing, you should go to your doctor immediately.

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A gray or white ring around the colored part of your eye

A gray or white arc or ring around the iris, or colored part of your eye, is a condition known as corneal arcus. This is when fat deposits deep in the edge of the cornea, the clear domelike covering over the front of the eye.

Corneal arcus in older people is usually harmless, a sign of aging rather than heart disease. However, if corneal arcus shows up in younger people, particularly those under age 45, it can be a sign of a severe case of high cholesterol. It can also be a sign of familial hyperlipidemia, high triglycerides passed down through families.

Clusters of waxy bumps on the skin

If your skin breaks out with clusters of waxy-looking bumps, you need to treat it seriously. That’s because these bumps may be eruptive xanthoma, which can be evidence of either diabetes or very high cholesterol levels.

Look closely at your skin: eruptive xanthoma is easy to confuse with warts or rashes. But these bumps will be waxier in appearance and require immediate medical treatment. Such bumps may indicate a buildup of cholesterol indicating that you currently have heart disease.

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Skin turning blue or purple

You should always treat skin discoloration as a serious issue. And if parts of your body are turning blue or purple, this may be a warning sign of heart disease.

That’s because your skin changing blue or purple may mean you are dealing with a blood vessel blockage. This keeps oxygen from reaching these areas, and the surrounding skin can die if this condition is left untreated.

Yellow-orange waxy growths on the skin

Earlier, we touched on the waxy bumps that may appear on your skin and look a lot like a rash. However, there is another waxy warning sign: waxy growths on your skin that appear yellow or orange in coloration.

These growths won’t be painful, and they can appear around your eyes, lower legs, or palms. Like the waxy bumps, the growths are a sign of excess cholesterol in your body, and too much cholesterol may be a sign that you either have heart disease or are on your way to getting it.

These cholesterol deposits are known as xanthelasma when they appear on the eyelids, and as xanthoma when they appear elsewhere on the body.

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Swollen legs or feet

You may not associate your legs and your feet with your heart. However, swelling in your legs or feet is one of the surest visible warning signs of heart disease!

Why is that? Basically, heart disease and other heart issues can cause fluid to build up in your legs and feet. If left unchecked, this fluid buildup can reach as high as your groin, so it’s important to see your doctor immediately if you notice swelling.

Smooth, waxy lumps on the skin

We’ve covered waxy growths and waxy bumps. But there is another sign you need to watch out for: waxy lumps!

Such lumps, known medically as nodules of systemic amyloidosis, can pop up almost anywhere on your skin. But cholesterol isn’t the culprit this time. Instead, these lumps are a sign that you have a protein buildup somewhere in your body. And if that protein builds up in your heart, it can keep your heart from working the way it should.

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Brown or red spots on the palms or soles of the feet

Remember when we said skin discoloration is always a serious issue? In addition to watching out for your skin turning blue or purple, you also need to watch out for spots of brown or red skin discoloration known as Janeway lesions.

Janeway lesions are most likely to show up on your palms or the soles of your feet. The discoloration may be a sign of an infected blood vessel or infected heart. It can also be a warning sign of another heart condition known as infective endocarditis.

If you see this discoloration, seek medical treatment immediately. While the spots are painless and will go away on their own in a few days or weeks, an infection will not go away without medical help.