Every 36 seconds a person in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease. This amounts to a staggering 659,000 people per year, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths.
Globally over 17.9 million lives are lost each year due to heart complications.
There are symptoms that you can look out for that could alert you to any heart issues you may have and warn you of a potential heart attack.
1. Intermittant shortness of breath known as dyspnea
Recurring shortness of breath with or without exertion can be a symptom of heart disease that is often ignored.
Sometimes dyspnea can be hard to describe, it can also occur with other symptoms, especially chest pain.
Shortness of breath can manifest itself as:
- Constantly feeling exhausted during regular activities
- A persistent cough that does not go away
- A feeling of tightness in your chest
- Having trouble catching your breath when you are resting or partaking in an activity
- Breathlessness when you are lying down, that improves when you sit up
If symptoms of dyspnea persist it is advised to get a check-up to avoid and rule out potential serious cardiovascular issues that you may be facing.
2. Lack of energy. Feeling constantly fatigued
Although we all experience days when we have less energy than others, if you find that feeling totally exhausted is becoming a constant theme it may be time to take the symptom seriously. It could be a sign that your heart is not functioning the way it should be and needs to be ruled out as a possible symptom of heart disease, especially when accompanied by other symptoms.
3. Gaining weight
You should inform your doctor immediately if you notice any sudden and unexpected weight gain. If you gain weight quickly for example in a short period of time such as 24 hours, it could be a sign that your body is retaining fluid.
The weight gain could also be accompanied by other symptoms such as breathlessness and a rise in blood pressure.
4. Swelling, especially in your feet, ankles and legs
Swelling is your body’s natural response to fluid buildup and can be quite common especially in regards to bumps left by mosquito bites and other harmless conditions.
However, if you start to notice that your ankles, legs or feet are swelling without being linked to a medication or an injury it is imperative to get it checked out by your doctor as soon as possible to preclude a link with cardiovascular disease.
5. Feeling dizzy
When your heart isn’t pumping blood effectively, it can cause your blood pressure to drop and this, in turn, may make you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
When this happens on a regular basis it could be a sign of heart disease and needs to be addressed.
6. Heart palpitations
To experience an occasional heart palpitation is no reason to feel alarmed, however, if you experience heart palpitations that come and go regularly it’s time to get the symptom checked out. Recurring heart palpitations can be linked to heart arrhythmias including bradycardia, atrial fibrillation or tachycardia.
7. Chest pressure or pain
Chest pain or pressure is also known as angina and these symptoms can be warning signs preceding a heart attack. There are two forms of angina: unstable and stable. Stable angina generally lasts for only a short period of time and is more likely to occur when you are feeling stressed, exercising or can be experienced during cold weather. Unstable angina feels more intense, it may appear unexpectedly lasting more than a few minutes. This type of angina requires medical attention.
People can experience angina in different forms. Signs of angina are also reportedly different between men and women. Men seem to experience more chest pressure, whereas women more often report a feeling of sharp chest pain.
While some people experience chest tightness others can feel numbness or tingling. The symptoms may not be limited to your chest area and it is also possible to experience discomfort in your neck, jaw, back, arms and other areas of the body.
8. Stomach pain, Nausea and indigestion
During a heart attack, some people experience these gastrointestinal symptoms. Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute says that people could even vomit in the midst of an attack.
Women are more apt to report this symptom than men. Of course, stomach upsets can be harmless and can occur after eating, however, they can also occur during a heart attack. As with all the above symptoms especially if they appear in tangent with others it is important to have them checked out by a medical professional.
“That’s especially true if you are 60 or older, are overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol or blood pressure, advises Vincent Bufalino, MD, who is an American Heart Association spokesman.
“The more risk factors. you have, the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related.”