Every 34 seconds, a person dies from heart disease in the United States. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women, so it is crucial to know the warning signs of heart disease that may signal you to see a doctor.

At Heart Wellness Group, we offer high-quality care in preventing, treating, and managing a variety of heart and vascular conditions. Our highly experienced doctors are dedicated to ensuring you get the best care you need for improved quality of life.

Some heart problems do not come with clear signs, while others show symptoms from other body parts. If you are unsure about the pain you are experiencing, and you are over 60 years or older, have diabetes, blood pressure, or high cholesterol, and get signs of heart attack, it’s crucial to visit your health care provider.

The more symptoms you have, the more you risk a heart attack. Symptoms are different for men and women. Women have shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue together with chest pain, while men mostly get chest pain.

Here are the top ten signs of heart disease that you should not ignore.

1. Chest pain

Chest pain is the most common and classic sign of heart attack. It is an emergency case that requires medical attention at once. You may feel heaviness, pressure, and tightness in the chest. Some people talk of a pinch or burning. One cause could be blocked arteries. The pain may occur when doing physical work or resting, lasting for a few minutes, then disappear when you stop. This may signify angina (angina means ‘choking’). The choking sensation can come up to the throat, a restricting kind of sensation.

People describe chest pain differently. Some say they feel like an elephant sitting on them, while others feel like they have a burning or pinching sensation. You may also feel extremely unwell, with chest pain that should not be ignored. Heart attack without chest pain is typical among women, a condition known as myocardial infarction (MI) or a silent heart attack.

2. Feeling Sweaty

Sweating is a natural process the body goes through to cool itself down. However, if you start sweating for no apparent reason and have chest pain with a hot and clammy feeling, it could be a sign that you may be having a heart attack. Sweating might be accompanied by other symptoms.

Sweating is usually an attempt by your body to cool itself down due to the inflammation around the heart. You may also break into cold sweats when not performing any physical activity. If this happens, you should seek immediate medical attention.

3. Stomach Pain, Indigestion, Nauseous and Feeling Sick

Heart attack or related attack problems may accompany symptoms of indigestion-type pain or a burning sensation in the chest or stomach. The gullet, stomach, and heart lie next to each other, making it difficult to disentangle between heart and neck pain.

Pain may be accompanied by nausea, intense chest pain, and heartburn. You may also vomit (especially women). Bloating and water retention may lead to nausea, decreased appetite, and feeling full quickly. If you have a history of heart failure, it is good to watch for persistent nausea, bloating, weight gain, shortness of breath, or swelling in the ankles. These symptoms may occur together with acute chest, jaw, or shoulder pain; you may feel quite sick even when doing nothing. You need to seek medical attention to be on the safe side if you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above to rule out a heart attack.

4. Leg, Feet, and Swollen Ankles

If you experience a gripping, cramping sensation in your calves when walking, it might be a sign of PAD (peripheral arterial disease). This disease is most common in smokers and people with diabetes. The pain in the body’s lower parts may signal circulation problems in the legs from peripheral artery disease.

A swollen ankle is another marker of a heart attack. Swollen ankles should not be ignored, especially if they get pretty big, though it can be due to other causes like blood pressure medication. It can signify that your heart may not be pumping enough blood effectively, which means blood is backing up in the veins and can cause bloating. Swelling is also associated with the legs being unable to return fluid to the heart. It might also affect your urinary bladder and kidneys, leading to movement difficulties restricting you to bed rest. Smaller arteries in the heart could also be clogged when the large leg arteries get blocked.

5. Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve and sustain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED might not always indicate a heart problem. However, studies suggest a strong link between heart disease and erectile dysfunction. Chronic stress, diabetes, and other conditions can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is a blood flow problem, and smoking and hypertension are some of the risk factors. Vascular ED and cardiovascular diseases root from endothelial dysfunction, in which blood vessels have difficulty expanding properly, reducing blood flow in the heart and penis.

A high percentage of women with heart failure report sexual dysfunction issues. You may experience a lack of libido, vaginal dryness, and loss of clitoral sensation. Endothelial dysfunction causes less elasticity of blood vessels impairing blood flow to sexual organs, and this may be the first step to developing coronary artery disease or cardiovascular disease.

6. Jaw, Throat, and Arm Pain

Another symptom of heart disease is persistent pain that occurs in the jaw. Usually, jaw or throat pain might not indicate a heart attack. However, if you are experiencing pain or pressure in the center of the chest, spreading into your throat or jaw can indicate a heart attack.

Additionally, pain going down the arm, mainly on the left arm, or the neck, is another classic sign of a heart attack. If the pain persists or you have had heart disease and used GTN (glyceryl triturate), you need to seek medical attention immediately.

7. Extreme Fatigue

Most people report fatigue as the first sign before they get a heart attack. Fatigue can start months before the attack; it may result from low blood flow to the heart.

You may feel tired all the time and have other symptoms. Fatigue can be a symptom of other conditions, but extreme fatigue without significant changes in your lifestyle could indicate a heart problem. If you are experiencing extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness going on for days (especially for women), it is good to talk to your health care.

8. Irregular Heartbeat

If your heart is beating very fast and pumping erratically, you might have heart failure or an impending heart attack. Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) can be mainly caused by hypertension and coronary artery disease. You may also experience blackouts. In such cases, see a general practitioner immediately.

9. Snoring

Snoring and sleeping disorders that disrupt your breathing while sleeping have been directly linked to heart disease. A loud snore, like if you are gasping or choking, can be a sign of sleep apnea. When you snore, you stop breathing for brief moments while you are asleep. Sleep disruptions or irregular sleep patterns can put more pressure on the heart. If you snore, you require a check-up so that the condition can be assessed. You may need a CPAP machine to smooth out breathing while you sleep. Sleep apnea is associated with metabolic syndrome, which is associated with heart disease as well.

10. Feeling Dizzy or Lightheaded

There are various causes of dizziness. But sudden shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or feeling unsteady, could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart may be unable to pump the way it should be. If You may have heart failure if you experience dizziness when you stand up too quickly, chest discomfort, and difficulty breathing. Call 911 immediately if this happens.

See a cardiologist if you have a history of heart disease or the symptoms mentioned above. You will be tested for high cholesterol levels, a treadmill stress test, EKG, or a heart ultrasound. Treatment will depend on the severity of the disease and heart condition.

Lifestyle changes are necessary for a healthy heart, such as a low sodium intake, a nutritious diet, weight management, regular exercise, good sleep, quit smoking and alcohol.

At Heart Wellness Group, we care about your heart health. For more information, contact us today or schedule an appointment online.

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