One person dies of cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds in the U.S. This works out to 659,000 deaths per year or one in four people. With such high numbers, heart disease is now the leading cause of death for men and women across most ethnic and racial groups in the U.S.
From heart attacks and arrhythmias to coronary artery disease (CAD) and cardiomyopathy, there can be a number of conditions associated with the heart and certain factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, obesity and smoking all contribute to the risk of developing heart disease.
Heart conditions are often life-threatening and can manifest in many ways. The symptoms are not always obvious so learning to detect early warning signs could mean the difference between life and death. In this article, we will outline some of the heart-related symptoms to be aware of.
An early warning sign of a heart attack is often pain, tightness or pressure in the chest which comes and goes in waves. This feeling is often described as though an elephant is sitting on the chest and usually lasts for a few minutes or longer.
If you have a loved one with a heart condition, a medical alert system could give you peace of mind knowing they will receive help if you are unavailable. You can learn more about medical alert systems such as direct alert vs lifeline here.
Shortness Of Breath
Simple activities that previously required little exertion but which now cause shortness of breath could be a sign of a heart condition. Shortness of breath is the most common symptom of heart failure.
Heart Rhythm Irregularities
Irregularities in heartbeat can also signify problems with the heart and can manifest in a number of ways which may include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Fluttering sensations
- Skipped or extra heartbeat
- Racing or unusually slow heartbeat
When the heart doesn’t receive enough blood, it can cause feelings similar to excessive caffeine intake or panic. If this happens often it can suggest a heart problem such as atrial fibrillation.
Dizzy spells are often signs of low blood pressure, dehydration or low blood sugar. When combined with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or sweating they can signal a sudden drop in blood pressure due to damaged heart muscle that is too weak to properly pump blood.
Nausea, vomiting, heartburn and indigestion can also present as symptoms when the body is not receiving sufficient amounts of blood to certain areas. When coupled with other symptoms such as dizziness or sweating, they can indicate a heart attack or CAD.
Extreme and unexplained fatigue or exhaustion is often a sign of a weak or damaged heart that is not able to maintain healthy blood pressure, and may also indicate blocked or hardened arteries or weak heart valves.
Excessive sweating or cold sweats can indicate that the heart is having to pump blood through blocked arteries. This requires the heart to exert greater effort which can lead to sweating in order to keep the body temperature down. If accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, sweating can be a strong indication of a heart attack.
If you or someone else is experiencing any of the symptoms in this article it’s important to seek medical attention.