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If You Notice This on Your Body Have Your Heart Checked

These unusual symptoms could mean serious heart problems

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, killing 659,000 people a year—with coronary heart disease being the most common type of heart disease. According to the CDC, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds, adding up to over 800,000 heart attacks a year. While certain symptoms of heart disease (for example, chest pain and shortness of breath) are fairly well-known, there are other more surprising indicators that an underlying medical issue is present. If you notice any of these on your body, have your heart checked (read on)—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Blue Skin and Lips

Dark purplish lips color in congenital cyanotic heart disease girl patient.

Blue skin and lips (cyanosis) may be a sign of heart disease, with the blue color being a result of a lack of oxygen in the blood or poor circulation. 


Clubbed Fingernails

woman looking at her nails

Clubbing of the fingers or toes may be another sign of heart issues, indicating that oxygenated blood is not reaching the fingers. "It's one of the first things they teach you at medical school," says Professor David Bonthron of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine. "You shake the patient by the hand, and take a good look at their fingers in the process."


Unhealthy Gums and Rotting Teeth

woman showing, with his finger, inflamed upper gingiva with pain expression

Research shows that loose teeth and inflamed gums cause inflammation which could possibly lead to heart attacks and strokes. "The bacteria that live in your mouth when you have gum disease can cross into your bloodstream, enter the heart, and directly infect the vulnerable heart valves," says Marietta Ambrose, MD, MPH, FACC, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. "That's especially concerning in our patients who have artificial heart valves."


Creased Earlobes

Male patient visiting doctor otolaryngologist

A diagonal earlobe crease—also known as Frank's Crease or Frank's Sign—could be a sign of coronary heart disease. Multiple studies have shown an association with Frank's Crease and thickening or hardening of the arteries (known as atherosclerosis).


Fatty Bumps on Skin

Uncomfortable young woman scratching her arm while sitting on the sofa at home.

Waxy bumps that suddenly appear on skin (known as eruptive xanthomatosis) could be an indicator of dangerously high cholesterol in the blood and a possible sign of heart disease. These clusters can appear anywhere on the body, including shoulders, arms, legs, buttocks, and around the eyes. See a doctor if you have these symptoms, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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