According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention around 610,000 people die of heart-related problems each year in the US alone. Both men and women are afflicted by heart disease due to various reasons that are connected with a certain lifestyle. However, there are many signs and warnings that inform us about heart trouble that we should be more than aware of.
1. Pain that spreads to the arm
Many men experience pain in the left arm, while women experience the same pain in either or both arms. Some women have also said that they experienced an unusual elbow pain before having a heart attack. This happens because the pain from your heart travels to your spinal cord where many nerves of your body are connected and your brain gets confused and thinks that your arm is in actual pain when that’s not the case.
2. Coughing that won’t quit
Coughing may be derived from various issues and it can also be a sign of cardiovascular disease. Persistent coughing that produces a pinkish liquid that contains blood is very common with heart failure. However, coughing is a sub-symptom of a much more serious symptom, which is dyspneaand sudden loss of breath.
3. Swollen legs, ankles, and feet
© Natalia Tylosova
When your heart is not pumping well, fluid from your blood vessels leaks into surrounding tissues and your legs and feet are the most common places of affliction simply due to gravity. This is called peripheral edema and many people who have it do not have heart disease. But still, it is a very common symptom amongst heart disease patients and you should pay close attention to it.
4. Lack of appetite and feeling nauseous
Many patients that suffer from heart disease show a lack of appetite and/or nausea even if they’ve had just a few bites to eat. The reason for that is a build-up of fluid around the liver and the intestines interfering with proper digestion. These symptoms are usually followed by abdominal pain and if you are experiencing all of them together, you should visit your doctor immediately.
5. Extreme and unusual levels of anxiety
Several studies have shown that people that suffer from extreme anxiety from very early in their lives are prone to heart disease. Anxiety can be caused by either a very stressful lifestyle or various disorders including panic disorder and phobic anxiety. Some of the effects of anxiety on your heart include tachycardia, increased blood pressure, and decreased heart rate.
6. Losing consciousness or fainting
Feeling lightheaded and losing consciousness is very common among heart patients. When the heart is not pumping blood well it is because the blood flow is blocked from a clogged artery or the narrowing of a valve. If you ever feel shortness of breath and you faint for a short period of time, call a doctor immediately and have your heart checked.
7. Your skin becomes paler or takes on a bluish color
This is not one of the most common symptoms, but when it appears, it’s due to reduced blood flow, a decreased number of red blood cells, and can be a sign that your heart doesn’t pump blood the way it should. Shock is the main reason for this symptom and the paleness can appear in your entire body or in a certain body part, for example a limb. However, if you notice paleness do not panic. Check out whether you are suffering from shock or there is some other issue like anemia.
8. Skin rashes or unusual spots
2 separate research projects that were performed by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that eczema and shingles are high risk factors of heart disease. Those who had eczema were found to have a 48% possibility of suffering from high blood pressure and a 29% possibility of having high cholesterol. Additionally, those who had shingles were 59% more likely to have a heart attack than people who didn’t have this condition.