Will that pain wear off, or is it time to see your doctor or even call an ambulance? BHF Professor David Newby highlights the 11 symptoms that you need to take seriously.
In the United States, heart disease remains a leading cause of death, affecting millions of people. It’s crucial to be aware of potential signs indicating a heart problem. David Newby, BHF John Wheatley Professor of Cardiology at the BHF Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Edinburgh, offers valuable insights into 11 crucial warning signs that might suggest it’s time to visit a healthcare professional.
By familiarizing themselves with these essential symptoms, individuals in the United States can better monitor their well-being and take suitable action when required. Early detection and intervention can play a significant role in managing and treating heart-related health issues, potentially saving lives and improving overall quality of life.
Many people snore a little in sleep, and in most cases it’s perfectly normal. However, if you notice your spouse has been snoring unusually loudly, they may have a sleep apnea, which means someone briefly stopping breathing during sleep. Snoring as a result of sleep apnea increases stress on the heart and can lead to heart disease. It’s best to consult a physician and get a sleep study done. They may also advise taking CPAP medicines to smooth breathing during sleeping.
2. Getting Exhausted Easily
If you feel tired doing tasks as simple as climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car, you’d better check in with a doctor right away, because that may be a sign of heart disease. “These types of significant changes are more important to us than every little ache and pain you might be feeling,” said Vincent Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman.
If you find yourself breaking out in a cold sweat for no particular reason, go to a nearby hospital immediately, but be sure not to drive there yourself. A symptom such as this could indicate that you are suffering from any number of serious diseases, including heart problems.
4. Long-Lasting Cough
If you have a cough that won’t quit, then it may not simply be as the result of a common cold. A long-lasting cough, especially one that produces white or pink mucus, could indicate a heart failure. Again, check with a professional and get proper treatment if you are not sure of the cause.
5. Swollen Legs, Feet And Ankles
When the heart fails to pump fast enough, blood backs up and it can lead to swollen legs, feet and ankles. Such symptoms may also be caused by kidney diseases. Get examined at a local hospital to find the root cause.
6. Nausea, Indigestion, Heartburn, Or Stomach Pain
According to Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute, patients experiencing a heart attack can exhibit these signs. They may even vomit. Although other diseases or just eating the wrong thing can also lead to the same symptoms, keep in mind that they can also occur during a heart attack.
Combined with other symptoms like chest discomfort or shortness of breath, lightheadedness can be related to a heart attack. “It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isn’t able to pump the way it should,” Bufalino says.
8. Chest Discomfort
If you are having a heart attack, it is most common to feel pain, pressure or tightness in your chest. Such discomfort, especially prolonged chest discomfort, can indicate severe heart disease and you should go to a nearby hospital immediately.
9. Pain That Spreads To The Arm
Some patients suffering from heart diseases have been reported to feel a pain that starts from the chest and moves to the arms. Never neglect such signs and get emergency treatment if you are experiencing anything remotely similar.
10. Irregular Heart Beat
Many conditions, like too much caffeine or not enough sleep, can cause an irregular heartbeat. But if your heart is beating out of time chronically and frequently, you need professional treatment from a doctor.
11. Throat Or Jaw Pain
Generally, throat or jaw pain is more likely caused by a cold, a muscular issue, or a sinus problem. But the pain that spreads to your throat or jaw from the center of your chest could probably be a sign of heart disease.
12. Blue Or Purple Color On Your Skin
Our skin can turn blue or purple when we’re freezingly cold. But if you’re warm and your skin turns blue or purple, it may mean that your blood is suffering a lack of oxygen, which can be caused by blood vessel blockage or heart disease.
13. Sudden Appearance Of Bumps
Eruptive xanthomatosis bumps can often look like warts, rashes, or pimples, but they are actually fatty deposits of cholesterol and indicate high cholesterol levels that can lead to heart disease.
14. Nails Curve Downward
Many people would consider the downward turned nails and swollen fingers harmless. But clubbing is usually related to heart disease, heart infection, or lung problems. So if you have these signs, consult your doctor quickly.
15. Yellowish-Orange, Waxy Growths
Like xanthomatosis bumps, yellowish-orange growths are also deposits of cholesterol, and they can appear in many areas of your skin, such as your eyes, your palms, or your soles. If you notice these growths, see your doctor to get your cholesterol levels under control.
16. Brownish Or Reddish Discoloration
Brown discolorations on your palms or soles are also a sign of an infection in your heart or blood vessel. These spots are usually painless and will clear themselves within weeks. But the infection requires treatment.
17. Red Or Purple Lines Under Your Nails
People who have injured their nails may see these red or purple lines under the nail. But if you don’t injure your nails and such lines appear, you had better see your doctor, because they can be a sign of heart condition.
18. Non-Itchy Rash And Fever
If your child develops a non-itchy rash and fever, it may be rheumatic fever, the leading cause of lifelong heart disease in children. So if such signs appear on the skin, treat them quickly.
19. Swollen Lips That Often Bleed
If you develop a rash, fever, and extremely dry lips that often crack and bleed, the likely cause is Kawasaki disease that is often seen in children. This condition, when not treated in time, can cause serious side effects, including heart disease.
20. Smooth, Waxy Lumps
Smooth, waxy lumps can appear on any area of your body. They usually indicate an abnormal buildup of protein in your heart or other organs. With unhealthy protein levels, your heart can’t work properly.