Heart disease is still the #1 killer of Americans, despite improvements in prevention, detection, and treatment over the past few decades. It manifests in so many different and confusing ways, that you might not recognize when you need to seek help. But there’s good news! Usually when heart disease is identified early and promptly treated, you can improve your health, feel better, and live a longer, fruitful life.
Here are some non-urgent early warning signs which may indicate significant heart disease and should be addressed soon:
- You feel chest pains or chest tightness upon little exertion (e.g. climbing a flight of stairs). If this seems to be coming on with less and less exertion over time and lasting longer than a minute after you stop to rest, you should see your doctor or healthcare provider very soon. Some people instead experience achy jaw or arm pain, or even they think is heartburn (except it is not relieved by antacids!).
- You feel very tired after minimal exertion (e.g. walking a block), despite getting enough sleep.
- You have swelling of your ankles and legs, to the point where it becomes difficult to put on your socks and shoes.
- You wake up in the middle of the night short of breath.
- You are gaining weight without eating much food (may be retaining fluid).
- You have episodes of rapid heart beating (greater than 90 beats per minute) while sitting or lying down. You may feel as though your heart is pounding and about to jump out of your chest.
- You have an irregular heart rate or pulse (heart rate is normally very predictably steady).
- You have episodes of lightheadedness, feel like you are about to faint, or actually faint.
Although there are many diseases which can bring on of the above symptoms, they can also be evidence that your heart is not working as it should. Dealing with this properly is not just a matter of “toughing it out,” since these signs and symptoms may indicate serious heart problems which can cause sudden death or severe disability due to a stroke. You should check in soon with your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms.
Have unanswered questions regarding heart disease? Take CHARGE Health offers personalized health coaching, consultation, education, and health advocacy on any of your health concerns. We have highly certified healthcare professionals. Our areas of expertise include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, weight loss, exercise, nutrition/diet plans, interpreting lab test results, and navigating the complex healthcare system. No question you might have is a dumb question! We want you to ask, and your health will thank you for it! Contact us to schedule an initial, free online consultation (up to 30 minutes).
Also read about Urgent Heart Disease Symptoms