Heart disease is no laughing matter, but as a chronic health condition, it doesn’t typically manifest overnight. It develops over time. Heart disease easily impacts over 10 percent of people today in just about every U.S. population. Ideally, the best way to avoid heart disease starts with a good diet, exercise and avoiding gaining unnecessary weight (i.e. obesity). So, the question that everyone should be asking themselves if they don’t already know they have heart disease involves what to look for as the signs of the condition starting to develop.
Signs of Heart Disease to Check Out
As noted above, heart disease develops over time. So, looking for the particular signs it creates tends to be early warning flags to get checked and talk to a doctor like Dr. Ian Weisberg, a heart specialist with over 20 years of experience. Here are some of the more common symptoms that should grab a person’s attention for seeking additional care and a doctor’s evaluation when possible:
- Pain in the chest – When pain happens that feels deep, serious, won’t stop, and it triggers general ill sensations including nausea, it’s time to call 911 right away. While a heart attack is the most immediate assumption, even heart weakness conditions can trigger these symptoms and should be examined as a lead up to the real thing.
- Sudden, serious stomach cramping and heartburn indigestion – Interestingly, serious digestive discomfort can also signal a serious heart condition. With the organ so close to the heart, cardiac problems have an effect on the stomach, and it can trigger nausea or heartburn sensations.
- Excessive sweating and clamminess – Perspiring heavily like just getting out of a strenuous gym session isn’t normal when a person has been sitting and not doing any activity at all. It’s also a sign of a possible heart attack.
- Cramping leg pain – Serious calf muscle pain when walking, almost like a Charlie horse cramp, should be looked into. The same goes for the arm. For those who already have heart disease, when a glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) spray isn’t working, it’s time to call 911 for help. Pain in the jaw that won’t pass or go away is another cramping sign.
- Feelings of choking – A feeling of the throat tightening up and not releasing should be considered, especially if a person already has a history of heart disease or problems. Don’t ride it out; call for help right away.
- Swollen feet or ankles – Serious swelling of the ankles, especially with a thick, excessive size, is a serious sign of the heart’s inability to pump and circulate properly. While peripheral edema is common in cases of obesity and diabetes, sudden excessive swelling goes beyond the norm and should be reviewed by a doctor.
- Loss of energy & exhaustion – Extreme tiredness even after a full night’s sleep shouldn’t be ignored. The heart is not moving enough oxygen, and the body is struggling to function, creating a severe sense of exhaustion. This can be combined with a fast heartbeat and a feeling like one is about to black out.
All of the above can happen at any time once a person is beginning the chronic condition of heart disease. Starting off guidance with a doctor is a great first step and should be engaged as soon as possible if any or a combination of the above signs happen. Don’t ignore your heart.