A heart attack occurs when blood flow is restricted to the heart. What causes this to happen in the first place? And what colour lips signal an increased risk of a heart attack?
The NHS confirms blue lips is usually a sign there’s not enough oxygen in the blood, signalling a problem with the heart.
Blue lips – medically termed cyanosis – warrant an urgent trip to the hospital.
It could be an indicator of coronary heart disease, according to Anatomy Professor Adam Taylor from Lancaster University.
“The lips are usually red, but they can take on a bluish colour [cyanosis] in people with heart problems, due to the failure of the cardiovascular system to deliver oxygenated blood to tissues.
“Of course, people also get blue lips if they are extremely cold or have been at a high altitude.
“In this case, blue lips are probably just due to a temporary lack of oxygen and will resolve quite quickly.”
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease happens when a build-up of fatty substances blocks or interrupts blood flow to the heart.
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These fatty substances can build up due to a number of lifestyle factors.
The health body notes smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes contribute to this.
As the fatty substances line the walls of the arteries – a process known as atherosclerosis – if the blood flow to the heart is blocked, a heart attack follows.
The doctor can diagnose whether or not someone has coronary heart disease.
Although the condition can’t be cured, treatment can manage the symptoms and reduce the chances of a heart attack.
Lifestyle changes would include regular exercise and stopping smoking.
Angioplasty – where balloons and stents are used to treat narrow heart arteries – may be put in place.
Additionally, medicines may be administered and surgery may be recommended.