Heart attacks are serious medical emergencies which require immediate attention from a medical professional. The body gives out a variety of early warnings before this serious condition occurs and noticing either lumps around the eyes or a halo in the eye could mean you may be at risk.
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If a person sees small lumps around their eyes it could be an early warning of a heart attack.
These lumps are known medically as xanthelasma.
These lumps tend to appear on a person’s upper and lower eyelids, near the inner corner of the eye, and often develop symmetrically around both eyes.
The lumps are painless and can grow in size over time or join together.
The growths fortunately do not affect a person’s vision or eyelid movement; however, they can cause the eyelid to droop.
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A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) investigated xanthelasma.
The study found that these lumps around the eyes can be a warning sign of raised cholesterol – a fatty substance which is found in blood and one of the main reasons why coronary arteries become clogged.
Another study published in the BMJ reported that 12,745 people in Denmark were recruited for a trial in the 70s and 4.4 percent of those studied experienced eye signs warning of a heart problem.
Three decades later those with xanthelasma were 48 percent more likely to have had a heart attack, 39 percent more likely to have heart disease and 14 percent had in fact died from a heart issue.
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What the expert said
Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre for Lancaster University, Adam Taylor said: “Fatty deposits, which accumulate in the arteries, could be visible in the eyes.
“The deposits appear as grey rings around the iris – the coloured part of the eye.
“About 70 percent of people over 60 years old have the halo, which could be a sign of heart disease.
“Although you can’t see your heart beating in your chest, there are visible, external signs that can indicate if something is wrong with your heart, before you suffer from a life-changing cardiovascular event.
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“Fat deposits may be seen in the eye, as a grey ring around the outside of the iris, the coloured part of the eye.
“This so-called arcus senills starts at the top and bottom of the iris before progressing to form a complete ring.
“About 45 percent of people over the age of 40 have this fatty halo around their iris, rising to about 70 percent of people over the age of 60.
“The presence of this fatty ring has been shown to be associated with some of the risk factors for coronary heart disease.”
Not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms.
Other warning signs of a heart attack include:
- Pressure, tightness, pain or a squeezing in the chest, arm or shoulder
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
- Sudden dizziness
If you experience any of these symptoms or have noticed strange lumps or a halo in your eyes, speak to your GP immediately.
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