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Heart attack warning: Subtle sign in your nails you should never ignore – are you at risk?

Heart attacks are serious medical emergencies that require immediate attention from a doctor. You could be at risk of a deadly heart attack – or myocardial infarction – if you find red or purple lines directly underneath your fingernails, it’s been claimed.

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

Without enough blood, the heart could become seriously damaged – and it may even be life-threatening.

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

You could be at risk of heart disease, and subsequently a heart attack, if you find small red/purple lines hidden underneath your nails.

READ MORE: Heart attack symptoms – what body part may ache during an attack?

These lines may look similar to a splinter being stuck underneath your fingernails.

Most people get these lines whenever they pick up an injury to their nails.

But, it could also be a warning sign of deadly heart disease, warned the American Academy of Dermatology.

You’re most likely to be at risk of heart disease if the lines are accompanied by a high fever, it warned.

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“Red or purple lines under your nails – most people who see these lines under their nails have injured the nail in some way,” it said.

“If you cannot remember injuring your nail, you may want to see your doctor.

“These lines can be a sign of heart disease or another condition.

“When it’s a sign of heart disease, people tend to have symptoms, such as high fever and a weak or irregular heartbeat.”


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The red or purple lines are medically known as splinter haemorrhages.

They’re caused by tiny blood vessels becoming damaged, and bursting.

Small splodges of blood become visible underneath the nail. As the nail grows outwards, these splodges turn into lines of blood, which resemble splinters.

But, splinter haemorrhages don’t necessarily mean you have heart disease. They could also be cause by diabetes, high cholesterol, or a fungal infection.


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More common heart attack symptoms include severe chest pain, having a radiating pain in your arm, and suddenly feeling very dizzy.

But you can lower your risk of a heart attack by making some small diet or lifestyle changes.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet will lower your chances of fatty deposits in your arteries.

If you think you, or someone you know, may be having a heart attack, it’s crucial that you dial 999 straight away.

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