You should know about possible heart symptoms
Why is heart disease so deadly? One reason is that many people are slow to seek help when symptoms arise. Yes, someone gripped by sudden chest pain probably knows to call 911. But heart symptoms aren’t always intense or obvious, and they vary from person to person and according to gender.
Because it can be hard to make sense of heart symptoms, doctors warn against ignoring possible warning signs, waiting to see if they go away, or being quick to blame them on heartburn, muscle soreness, or other less serious, non cardiac causes. That’s especially true for people over 65, as well as for people with heart risk factors, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease.
Here are a dozen symptoms that may signal heart trouble.
Heart attack can cause intense anxiety or a fear of death.
2. Chest discomfort
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.
Persistent coughing or wheezing can be a symptom of heart failure — a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs. In some cases, people with heart failure cough up bloody phlegm.
Heart attacks can cause lightheadedness and loss of consciousness. So can potentially dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities known as arrhythmia’s.
Especially among women, unusual fatigue can occur during a heart attack as well as in the days and weeks leading up to one. And feeling tired all the time may be a symptom of heart failure.
6. Nausea or lack of appetite
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 — just pain in these other body areas like one or both arms, or between the shoulders. The pain might come and go.
8. Rapid or irregular pulse
Doctors say that there’s usually nothing worrisome about an occasional skipped heartbeat. But a rapid or irregular pulse — especially when accompanied by weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath — can be evidence of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. Left untreated, some arrhythmias can lead to stroke, heart failure, or sudden death.
9. Shortness of breath
People who feel winded at rest or with minimal exertion might have a pulmonary condition like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But breathlessness could also indicate a heart attack or heart failure.
Breaking out in a cold sweat is a common symptom of heart attack. “You might just be sitting in a chair when all of a sudden you are really sweating like you had just worked out.
Heart failure can cause fluid to accumulate in the body. This can cause swelling (often in the feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen) as well as sudden weight gain and sometimes a loss of appetite.
In the days leading up to a heart attack, as well as during one, some people experience severe, unexplained weakness. “One woman told me it felt like she couldn’t hold a piece of paper between her fingers.
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