Heart ailments are serious because many individuals are slow to seek medical attention when the symptoms first appear.
Heart symptoms aren’t always very clear to distinguish from some other conditions, and they can vary from person to person, which can make a person do the following:
- Ignore certain warning signs.
- Wait it out to see if the symptoms go away.
- Assume the symptoms to be result of heartburn, muscle soreness or other non-cardiac causes.
In fact, people at higher risk of developing heart ailment like those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or a family history of heart disease must pay close attention to the following tell tale signs of heart disorder:
#1 Chest pain
Partial blockage of coronary arteries causes chest pain or angina, while complete blockage can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction). The symptoms of heart attack can resemble indigestion – heaviness in chest, stomach ache or heartburn.
However, heart-related chest pain can be distinguished due to it being centred under the breastbone, a little to the left from the chest centre. A person will experience uncomfortable pressure, sense of fullness or squeezing sensation. Some women feel a burning sensation in the chest that can be easily mistaken for a pain from the stomach. Sometimes, a radiating pain to the left arm, neck and jaw can be felt.
Heart failure leads to accumulation of fluid in the lungs, resulting in a persistent cough or wheeze. Some people with a failing heart also cough up a bloody phlegm.
A heart attack can cause a feeling of light-headedness and loss of consciousness. Dizziness may also be due to heart rhythmic abnormalities like arrhythmia.
Days or even weeks prior to a heart attack, patients may experience an unusual fatigue, and may feel tired all the time. Any unexplained fatigue when at an increased risk to heart disease must be brought to medical notice.
#5 Shortness of breath
It is easy to justify breathlessness with asthmas or obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, some people may or may not feel chest pain during a heart attack or heart failure, but could feel out of breath even at rest or with minimal activity.
#6 Fast or irregular pulse
Heart attack, heart failure or arrhythmia can be signalled by a rapid or irregular pulse. When left untreated, arrhythmias can lead to stroke, heart failure or death.
#7 Lack of appetite, nausea
It is common for people undergoing a heart attack to feel the need to throw up.
A common symptom of a stroke is profuse sweating, without any major activity.
A failing heart causes fluids to accumulate in the body, which can result in swelling in the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen, and sudden weight gain.
Unexplained, severe weakness may accompany in the days leading up to a heart attack.