Heart attacks happen when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked, usually by a build-up of fatty plaques called cholesterol. Heart attacks fall under the umbrella of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels. The eyes could indicate if you’re at risk of the medical emergency. What should you look out for?
The arrangement of blood vessels at the back of the eye, also known as the retina vasculature, is closely connected to the health of your heart.
That means issues we see in the eye can be directly linked to health problems with the heart and the vessels in your body.
Eye doctors can look at the state of our eye’s blood vessels and determine whether we may have evidence of high blood pressure or even diabetes even without using a blood pressure cuff.
Sometimes, patients may not know they have high blood pressure, due to the lack of physical symptoms but this increases their risk of heart disease and stroke.
This could only become apparent until they come in for an eye exam.
High levels of cholesterol can reveal itself as fatty, yellowish lumps on a person’s eyes.
One lump is called xanthelasma, and a group of lumps is called xanthelasma.
They tend to appear on the upper and lower eyelids, near the inner corner of the eye, and often develop symmetrically around both eyes.
The painless xanthelasma can grow in size over time and can sometimes join together.
Research into the eye-heart connection has been on the rise among healthcare professionals.
A study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering showed the company’s machine-learning algorithm is able to successfully predict a patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease based on a scan of the backs of their eyes.
“The eye of an experienced ophthalmologist can pick up pattern changes but cannot analyse numbers to the degree a computer does,” said Dr Dimitra Skonda, assistant professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Chicago Medicine.
She continued: “But there is still clinical judgment that’s needed, especially when you have to put the history of the patient together and formulate a differential diagnosis and management plan.
“So, the next time you are ready to ignore your long-awaited eye appointment, it would be wise to remember you could be missing more than meets the eye.”
The most common heart attack symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and having an overwhelming sensation of anxiety.
While chest pain is a common sign of a heart attack, not everybody experiences severe chest pain.
The pain can be quite mild and may be easily mistaken for indigestion.
Every seven minutes, someone in the UK has a heart attack, said charity Heart UK.
More than a third of all deaths before 75 years old in the UK are caused by coronary heart disease.
If symptoms such as chest pain (angina pectoris) persist, one should seek medical attention immediately, in order to prevent the death of additional heart muscle and its associated side effects.
When symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing and/or easy fatigue are present, it is generally recommended to have a heart check-up performed.
It’s strongly advised to live as healthy of a life as possible which includes eating well-balanced diet and getting enough exercise.