What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
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The eyes do more than allow us to see; they have something to say. In fact, certain parts of the eye can indicate underlying health problems including your potential risk of a heart attack.
Fatty deposits, which accumulate in arteries, could be visible in the eyes, said Lancaster University’s Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, Adam Taylor.
The deposits appear as grey rings around the iris – the coloured part of the eye.
About 70 per cent of people over 60 years old have the halo, which could be a sign of heart disease, said Taylor.
“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’,” he wrote on The Conversation.
Eye doctors can look at the state of one’s eye’s blood vessels and determine whether there may be evidence of high blood pressure or even diabetes.
The ratio between the size of retinal arteries to veins is supposed to be approximately two to three.
So, if spotting the artery is a lot smaller than the vein, or the vein is a lot bigger and dilated, that can be evidence of high blood pressure or cardiovascular risk factors.
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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,” added Taylor.
“This so-called ‘arcus senilis’, starts at the top and bottom of the iris before progressing to form a complete ring.
“It doesn’t interfere with vision.”
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, said Chicago Medicine.
The health site added: “That means issues we see in the eye can be directly linked to health problems with the heart and the vessels in your body.
“Most eye exams include an inspection of the outside and inside of the eye.
“To do this, your ophthalmologist will use an ophthalmoscope to examine things such as pupil reflexes, the lens of your eye, the retina, and the optic nerve.”
Other main symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms and shoulders
- Shortness of breath
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