Don't Miss the Early Signs
Some people are surprised when they learn that not all heart attacks involve massive pain or a collapse that results in the need for an ambulance. Some indicators of heart disease are signs and symptoms of common illnesses that people overlook or dismiss. If you have any of the symptoms below, you should see your doctor. Ask if they could be early signs of heart disease.
Chest pain (Angina): This painful condition is sometimes the precursor to cardiac arrest, although it can also recur for years without triggering any more serious signs. Angina is the most common early warning of cardiovascular disease and can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including a feeling of heaviness in the chest, pain, a squeezing sensation, weight on the chest or a deep pain that causes you to catch your breath. Many people mistake angina for heartburn or indigestion, particularly since the pain is sometimes felt in other areas of the body, including pain in the shoulder, the middle or upper region of the back or even the jaw line.
Plague accumulation in the arteries (Arteriosclerosis): This is the narrowing or blocking of the major arteries due to the build-up of plaque from too much cholesterol. As the arteries become clogged, blood flow to and from the heart is restricted, forcing the heart to work harder. Most people first notice poor circulation that leads to difficulty keeping their hands and feet warm.
A family history of early heart disease or heart attacks: If one’s close relative has a history of heart disease of any form especially at an early age, it could be a sign of a genetic form of heart disease. It is important for other close family members to talk to their doctors about heart disease.
Other symptoms of heart disease may be recurring for months or even years without an individual connecting them to a serious problem like heart disease. These include dizziness, shortness of breath such as after an exercise, sweating, a rapid pulse and heart palpitations. Many people under 50 years tend to dismiss these symptoms especially when they come and go.
Talk to your doctor if you or a member of your family shows any signs of early heart disease. Do not disregard these symptoms, no matter how unlikely they may seem. Early detection and treatment can keep small health issues from turning into a major health problem.