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Sock marks could indicate heart problems – what to look out for and when to get help

today28 June 2022

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Sock marks left on your skin could indicate more than just needing a wardrobe update or re-size. According to medical professionals it could be a warning sign of a serious health condition.

For years the NHS has been imploring the nation to look after its heart health. Heart disease is one of the UK’s biggest killers in terms of groups of diseases, with statistics indicating that someone dies from a form of heart disease every few minutes.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) teamed up with the NHS to raise awareness and provide tools and advice on tackling heart disease. The condition caused by blood supply being blocked or slowed by a build-up of fatty tissues in the arteries. The British Heart Foundation says: “Heart and circulatory diseases cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK, that’s more than 160,000 deaths each year – an average of 460 deaths each day, or one every three minutes in the UK.”

READ MORE: Richard Madeley takes Flamingo balance test live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain – test shows if you’ll die in next 7 years

Such worrying statistics surrounding heart and circulatory conditions, the Mirror reported on how everyone of us can to help lower our risk of the potentially life-threatening condition. Here’s what to look for and how to help yourself.

Spotting the warning signs

Outlined below are some of the warning signs you should be aware of. However, if you are worried about your health you should contact your GP.

Oedema

Oedema can be caused by a wide range of conditions, some of which are temporary and perfectly harmless, such as swollen ankles during a pregnancy or puffiness in your hands and feet during a flight because of water retention. It is water retention in the feet and legs, which creates the puffiness – this is known medically as peripheral oedema.

One of the easiest ways that people can be alerted to water retention in your body is when you take off your socks. A person who has this condition may notice “sock marks” – seeing distinctive lines running across the ankles from where the socks were.

Mild peripheral oedema is common but it could also indicate serious heart issues. Health experts warn that oedema may be a sign of heart failure because when the heart is not pumping as well as it should, fluid from inside the blood vessels tends to leak out into the surrounding tissues. The legs and ankles are common areas for oedema because of the effects of gravity.

It’s important to note that most people who have peripheral oedema don’t have heart disease, but it could be a key indicator of potential heart problems and other signs of heart failure. Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists have been quoted as saying: “Persistent problems with oedema, however, could be a signal that your heart isn’t functioning properly”. It added: “A more serious cause of peripheral oedema is congestive heart failure, a condition in which your heart is too weak to pump blood efficiently.”

Heart failure symptoms

According to the NHS website, Heart failure means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body properly. It says: “It usually happens because the heart has become too weak or stiff”.

The advice website adds: “Heart failure does not mean your heart has stopped working. It means it needs some support to help it work better.”

While heart failure is most common in older people, the condition can occur at any age. Symtoms may start suddenly or develop gradually over weeks or months.

Here are the main symptoms.

  • Breathlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen ankles and legs (Oedema)
  • Feeling lightheaded and fainting

Other symptoms can include:

  • A persistent cough, which may be worse at night
  • Wheezing
  • A bloated tummy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Confusion
  • A fast heart rate
  • A pounding, fluttering or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)

How to lower your risk of heart failure

Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight are key factors to preventing heart failure. Other healthy behaviours include not smoking, eating fruits and vegetables, and moderating your alcohol intake.

If concerned about any unusual swelling or slight issues with your heart, speak to your GP about the best plan of action. NHS says: “See your GP if you experience persistent or gradually worsening symptoms of heart failure. The symptoms can be caused by other, less serious conditions, so it’s a good idea to get them checked out.” Of course, if you have sudden or very severe symptoms, you should seek urgent medical advice by calling 999 or visiting A&E.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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