One person in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds, making it one of the leading causes of death for Americans. In addition, approximately 655,000 Americans die of heart problems each year – breaking down to one in four deaths.
While these stats are frightening, it is even more frightening that many people are completely ignorant of the small, brutal signs that may indicate cardiovascular issues.
“Many people look at chest pain as a warning sign of cardiovascular disease,” said Mariko Harper, a Seattle physician. which specifically deals with cardiovascular disease, nuclear cartilage and echocardiography. However, he said, “While more than half of people present with breast discomfort when having a heart attack, up to a third of patients – particularly women – do not have breast symptoms at all. They may have more unusual or subtle symptoms. ”
Ignoring these signs means avoiding all of your well-being.
If the body were considered a device, the heart would be a battery that powers it, said Aeshita Dwivedi, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “In fact, without a properly functioning heart, the rest of the body cannot function properly,” she said.
Here are some subtle but serious signs that you may be dealing with a cardiovascular issue, as well as some tips on how you can improve your heart health:
Inflammation in the lower areas
Christine Bishara, founder the integrated medical practice From Inside Medicine in New York said that swelling in the lower legs, especially the ankles and feet, indicates a heart condition. This condition is also called edema.
“If your heart loses its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body – either through weak heart muscles or damage to heart tension from a silent heart attack – blood flow can slow down and recover in the legs causing inflammation, ”She said.
Shortness of breath
As mentioned, some people do not get chest pain when dealing with heart issues. While this could happen to anyone, Bishara said this is especially true for those with diabetes. Instead, they may have difficulty breathing.
“Because diabetes affects and suppresses zero emotions, [someone who is diabetic] with a very serious condition there may never be symptoms of chest pain, ”she said. “This is why shortness of breath should not be overlooked – especially if it is a fresh start.”
Feeling tired that you can’t just shake may be another sign of heart issues, according to Bishara. Especially if it seems like it didn’t come out of nowhere.
“If the symptoms of obesity are very early or for no underlying cause, talk to your doctor,” she said.
Unexplained high pain, left shoulder or arm
Bishara said these pains should not be neglected, as they could also be signs of an impending heart attack or heart attack. Back symptoms are common in women and are sometimes the same symptom. ” This is especially true if the pain is random (for example, you didn’t stress something during exercise).
Palpitations that come out of nowhere
The timing of these palpitations is as important as the symptom itself. Keep in mind that exercise, caffeine and anxiety can all cause a faster beat. However, say you are sitting or in another relaxed state and your heart is starting to race, that could be a sign that something is wrong. Dizziness and lightheadedness can also be symptoms.
Cardiovascular issues may present as ial discomfort. Marcus Smith, a physician at the CardioVascular Health Clinic in Oklahoma, he said patients have been complaining about jaw pain that they initially believed was attached to their teeth. They later learned that it was associated with angina, which can be a heart condition.
“The nerves that enter the heart and raise the sense of pain are the same nerves that build the same feeling for orthopedic issues, gastrointestinal issues, and dental issues; it’s the only release of nerves, ”he said. “People with heart problems often say they felt pain in their hook. That is why any symptoms should not be pushed to the side as it may represent a heart signal. ”
What to do if you have these symptoms
If you find any of these issues, it is best to seek medical attention. (If you believe you may be having a heart attack or stroke, call 911. for sure)
Smith said your doctor will first ask you questions about your lifestyle habits and behaviors to assess your risk factors. From there, you might go through an experiment (or you could go to a cardiologist) to get a better view of what’s going on.
There are also things you should do outside of your doctor’s office. Suzanne Steinbaum, a volunteer medical expert for the Go Card for Women movement at the American Heart Association in New York, recommended taking steps to improve your overall heart health. The first is to monitor your blood pressure. Normal range is at or below 120/80.
“High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” said Steinbaum. “Watching your diet and exercise, and including weight management are key components in lowering your blood pressure. ”
Cholesterol also plays an important role. For adults, total cholesterol should be around 200 or lower (minimum is best). LDL cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) should be less than 100 for both women and men. HDL (the good cholesterol) should be at 40 or higher for men and 50 or higher for women.
“High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke,” Steinbaum said. “By controlling your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries the best chance of staying unobstructed. Cholesterol can often be regulated by dietary changes, increasing the amount of vegetables, whole grains, fruits as well as the intake of healthy fats. Cutting back on saturated fat is an important part of this. ”
Lastly, try your best to get a move that you like. The American Heart Association recommends approximately 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. (Here is a list of activities you can do to reach this goal – no boring cardio required!)
“Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love,” Steinbaum said. “Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.”