Your skin is your body’s largest organ — covering an average of 22 square feet — and it plays an invaluable role in providing a shield for your body. Though the evidence of this protection can show up in the signs of scars and blemishes, your skin can also register what’s going on inside your body. In fact, your skin often acts as a window to your health, as evidenced by the skin conditions that can develop when you have heart disease.
To help you recognize some of the outward signs on your skin of potential heart disease, the team of skilled heart health experts here at Advanced Cardiology Specialists wants to focus on five dermatological signs of heart disease here.
Swelling in your lower extremities
One of the more common signs of heart disease that shows up in your skin is swelling in your limbs, mostly your lower limbs. If your cardiovascular system isn’t pumping blood efficiently throughout your body, fluid can build up. Reasons why this sign is more apt to develop in your lower extremities is that these blood vessels need to fight both distance and gravity to circulate blood back and forth to your heart, and excess fluid tends to gather at the lowest point of your body.
1. Color changes in your skin
If the tips of your fingers or toes turn bluish in color, this likely means that they aren’t getting enough oxygen. If you have blocked blood vessels, oxygenated blood isn’t able to pass easily and, what little that does, isn’t enough to provide oxygen for endpoint areas like your toes.
2. Waxy lumps and growths
If you develop yellow or orange, waxy bumps on your skin, this may indicate high cholesterol levels. These bumps often form on the inside corners of your eyes, on the backs of your legs, or on your palms.
Bumps can also form on your body because of dangerously high levels of triglycerides (fats) in your blood. These bumps tend to form in clusters on your skin, and they’re made up of fatty deposits of cholesterol.
3. Patterns of visible blood vessels
When your skin is cold, it isn’t uncommon for a visible network of blue blood vessels to develop in your skin. As your body warms up, this web slowly dissipates.
If you’re noticing this development when you aren’t cold and the web-like appearance of blood vessels becomes constant, this may be caused by blockages in your small arteries, which is called cholesterol embolization syndrome.
4. Painful bumps on your fingers and/or toes
If you develop bumps on your fingers or toes, and they’re quite painful, this could signal a heart infection called infective endocarditis. The bumps can come and go and last for several hours or several days.
If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, we urge you to come see us. In most cases, these are warning signs that allow us to take action to preserve your cardiovascular health.
If you have more questions about the many ways in which cardiovascular issues can show up in or on your skin, please contact our office in Mountain View, California.