Could you have heart disease?  Just look in the mirror.  (Part Two)

Could you have heart disease? Just look in the mirror. (Part Two)

Last week, in the first part of this blog series, we detailed five clues that could mean you have heart disease. Now we have the last four clues that could also signify that not all is right with your heart. 

Clue #6:  Corneal Arcus (COR-neel AHR-kuhs)
A whitish rim around the iris can be caused by cholesterol deposits. This is a recognized sign of elevated cholesterol levels in individuals younger than 50. As people age, corneal arcus becomes more common in general and studies have shown that it’s less useful as a heart disease/cholesterol discriminator in the elderly.


Clue #7:  Eruptive Xanthoma (zan-THO-mah)

This is the sudden occurrence of crops of small, pink bumps with creamy centers on the skin. They may appear on the hands, feet, arms, legs and buttocks and can be itchy.

This unusual rash occurs in the setting of high triglyceride levels, as can be seen with uncontrolled diabetes. The rash usually disappears when the underlying condition is treated – as when the diabetes comes under control.



Clue #8:  Receding hairline

Although receding hairlines and bald spots are more likely as men age, the presence of these hair changes has been associated with increased risk of heart disease - even after accounting for age and other traditional risk factors.

Receding hairline


Clue #9:  Abdominal obesity

Unlike fat that accumulates under the skin, fat that accumulates in the abdomen appears to be toxic to health. What we now know is that these fat cells release their metabolic products into veins that go straight to the liver. Because the liver is so important to metabolic function, this results in impaired regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol. It’s no wonder a multitude of studies have shown that excessive fat inside the abdomen is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.  See the table below if your waist measurement puts you at risk:


Interpreting your waist circumference – measure at the belly button



Low risk

37 inches and below

31.5 inches and below

Intermediate risk

37.1–39.9 inches

31.6–34.9 inches

High risk

40 inches and above

35 inches and above

 Source: Harvard Health 


As stated previously, if you have one of more of these physical signs, don't panic. Instead, make an appointment to see your primary care physician to review these findings.

In the meantime, know that  that Step One's foods promote healthy cholesterol, lower blood sugar and can help you lose weight.  

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