We’ve all seen the a poster in the doctor’s office with the symptoms of a heart attack. Most of those symptoms occur moments before someone suffers a heart attack, but what if there were early warning signs of an unhealthy heart? Well, researches have found that there are certain symptoms patients experience months and even years leading up to a heart attack. When the heart begins to fail, symptoms can show up in other parts of the body that the heart affects.
Warning Signs Of An Unhealthy Heart
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have an unhealthy heart, but if you’ve experienced two or more of these early warning signs together, you should get your heart checked out.
Snoring, Sleep Apnea, Or Other Breathing Problems While Asleep
If you snore loud enough that your partner needs ear plugs, you may have a heart problem. You snore because your breathing is being restricted. Restricted breathing is linked to all sorts of cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea, when breathing briefly stops during sleep, is linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease as well as heart attack. Those suffering from sleep apnea were found to be three times more likely than others to have a heart attack within five years.
Sore, Swollen, Or Bleeding Gums
Not only are these symptoms signs of periodontal disease, which is when bacteria causes the gums to get inflamed and pull away from teeth, but they could also be an early warning sign of an unhealthy heart.
Puffy Or Swollen Legs Or Feet
If your feet, ankles, wrists, or fingers become uncomfortably swollen, or you have indentations in your feet when you take your shoes off, you may have a problem with fluid retention. Fluid retention can be a sign of coronary artery disease, heart failure, or other forms of cardiovascular disease.
Irregular Heartbeat or Arrhythmia
A sign that something going on in your cardiovascular system is not right is an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. It may feel like your heart is beating too fast, pounding too hard, or skipping beats. This may be a sign of coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of sudden death in both men and women.
Aching Chest Or Shoulder
The most common symptom of coronary heart disease is angina, a type of chest pain. Angina is likely to feel like a deep ache or constriction on the chest and may get worse every time you take a breath. Angina feels different to different people. Some might also mistake it for indigestion or heartburn. The tightness or constriction can also occur in other areas of the body such as your neck, shoulder, arm, or upper back, which may be mistaken for a pulled muscle. The difference between angina versus a pulled muscle is that you’re likely to experience the discomfort repeatedly.
Usually, shortness of breath indicates you may have early-stage heart disease or early-stage lung disease. It might feel like you can’t catch your breath or you may feel compression on your chest and lungs. Another symptom of poor circulation may be labored breathing, which happens when liquid accumulates in the lungs.
Certain groups are more likely to experience these symptoms than others. This includes people with one or more of the following risk factors:
- Over the age of 40.
- Family history of heart problems.
- Cigarette smoker.
- Obese or overweight.
- High blood pressure or cholesterol.
Heart problems can also be present in someone without any of these risk factors, however, it is less likely.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Matthew Boes M.D. Orthopaedic Surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Heart disease runs in Trisha’s family and she wants to know the early warning signs of an unhealthy heart.
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