Taking care of your heart is no laughing matter.
The good news is that many people are making a commitment to their health by eating right, and adding a bit of exercise into their daily routine.
If you’ve made a pledge this year to live a more “heart-healthy” lifestyle good for you! After all, the focus today is on wellness and quality of life as you age.
With this in mind here are…
10 Early warning signs of heart trouble
If you follow the news you probably already know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women.
Nearly 40% of all deaths in this country are the result of heart disease.
That is more than all forms of cancer… combined. So taking heart health seriously is important. Your life could depend on it!
Here are a ten symptoms that may signal heart trouble:
Stress and anxiety have a direct effect on your health.
For those who discount alternative therapies as too “esoteric” the link between anxiety and stress is well documented, and shows how emotions, thoughts and moods can affect our health. If you have a couple of risk factors for heart disease pay attention to increased feelings of anxiety.
A number of heart attack survivors have shared feeling an impending “sense of doom.”
That’s your body trying to tell you something…
2. Chest discomfort
Pain in the chest is the classic symptom of heart attack.
However, not all heart attacks cause chest pain. What’s more, some chest pains can be the result of something other issue with your health that has nothing to do with your heart.
So what type of chest pain should you pay attention to?
Heart-related chest pain is often centered under the breastbone, perhaps a little to the left of center. The pain has been likened to “an elephant sitting on the chest,” but it can also be an uncomfortable sensation of pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
Women, more so than men, can also experience a burning sensation in their chest rather than a pressure or pain.
A persistent cough is not something to take lightly.
Coughing or wheezing can be a symptom of heart failure, the result of fluid build up in your lungs. And you may already know that respiratory issues are a risk factor for a heart attack as your heart works harder to pump oxygenated blood through your body.
In some cases, people with heart failure cough up bloody phlegm.
Heart attacks can cause a feeling of being lightheaded and loss of consciousness.
This makes sense since the normal flow of blood is interrupted during a heart attack. Again, if you have other risk factors for heart disease pay close attention to any dizziness or lightheadedness.
If you’ve experienced this recently it’s time to contact your doctor.
Especially among women unusual fatigue can occur during a heart attack as well as in the days and weeks leading up to one.
If you’re feeling tired all the time now might be a good idea to see your doctor. After all, feeling tired all the time may be a symptom of heart failure.
6. Nausea or lack of appetite
Nauseousness or lack of appetite can signal many health issues with your body.
And it can also signal an impending heart attack as well. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to feel sick to their stomach or throw up during a heart attack. And abdominal swelling associated with heart failure can interfere with appetite.
7. Pain in other parts of the body
In many heart attacks pain begins in the chest and spreads to the shoulders, arms, elbows, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen. But sometimes there is no chest pain at all, just pain in other parts of your body like arms, legs, or between your shoulders.
What’s more, the pain may come and go preceding a heart attack.
If you have unexplained pain lasting for more than a day or two it’s time to call your doctor and get that checked out.
8. Shortness of breath
According to Dr. Jack Hauser, a Cardiologist in CT, “people who feel winded while at rest or with minimal exertion might have a pulmonary condition like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And these conditions are a significant risk factor for a heart attack.”
In fact, respiratory issues can trigger a heart attack, and breathlessness could also indicate a heart attack or heart failure.
Breaking out in a cold sweat is a common symptom of heart attack.
In the days leading up to a heart attack, as well as during one, some people experience severe, unexplained weakness. This is a symptom that your body is not getting enough blood flow, the primary way that energy is transported to your cells (i.e. oxygen).
If you have been experiencing prolonged weakness, or any of these other symptoms, it’s time to contact your doctor.
In fact, HeartCare Associated, a cardiology office in the greater New Haven area, specializes in preventive care and medical screenings across a number of health related issues, from heart disease to diabetes.
At the end of the day, when it comes to preventing heart disease you have to listen to your body. It is trying to tell you something. Sadly, far too often we explain away many of these symptoms as merely the signs of “old age” rather than paying attention to them.
As my grandfather always said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”