Heart attack: Noticing this sign on ankles after taking off your socks is an early warning

Heart attacks are serious medical emergencies which require immediate attention from medical experts. A lesser-known warning sign of the condition is noticing your skin looking like this after taking off your socks.


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Heart attacks are caused by a lack of blood reaching the heart.

Without enough blood, the heart can become damaged and it could lead to death.

A heart attack could also be a symptom of coronary heart disease, which is where fatty deposits build up in the arteries and limits the amount of blood reaching the heart.

An unusual warning sign of the condition is spotting sock marks after taking off your socks.

Many people associate heart attacks with obvious symptoms including chest pain.

However, there are some lesser-known warning signs which include bleeding gums or swollen feet.

When a person has swollen feet and ankles, they will often notice an indentation on their skin after they take off their socks.

Dr Carl Orringer, associate professor of medicine and director of the Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said: “Signs like ankles swelling or weight gain do not necessarily mean you have heart disease, but taken together with other symptoms of heart disease, laboratory studies, and family history, they are an important part of making a diagnosis of heart disease or heart failure.”

Retention of fluid in the feet and legs is known as peripheral edema.

Edema may appear as “sock marks” on the legs and ankles at the end of the day.

Mild peripheral edema is common.

A GP may check for this sign by pressing a finger against the ankle or shin bone to see if a depression or dent is left behind.

This is known as “pitting edema” and it could indicate congestive heart failure.


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Edema may be a sign of heart failure because when the heart is not pumping well, fluid from inside the blood vessels tends to leak out into surrounding tissues.

The legs and ankles are common areas for edema due to its effects of gravity.

Dr Orringer added: “Peripheral edema may be caused by a host of issues.

“The bottom line is that most people with peripheral edema do not have heart disease, but it could be an important sign if there are other signs and symptoms of heart failure.”

Most often, peripheral edema is the result of fluid retention rather than an underlying condition.

The swelling in the feet and ankles is usually mild and temporary.

When a person stands or sits for long periods throughout the day, gravity pulls blood into the legs and this increased pressure pushes fluid from the blood vessel into the soft tissue causing mild swelling.

Swelling related to gravity is called dependent edema and is more pronounced at the end of the day, which is why sock marks are typically worse in the evening.

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