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Educational health information to improve your well-being.

8 Subtle Signs of Heart Disease

April 13, 2017
Published in: Heart

Heart sculpture made out of wire

You might not be aware that heart disease can go undetected. Some of the early indicators seem so insignificant that people overlook or dismiss them. If you have any of these symptoms, you might want to make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup. Don't worry about being embarrassed, it's better to be cautious than to ignore a problem.

Shortness of Breath

In spite of all that jogging and running, you find yourself getting winded walking up a flight of stairs. Maybe you're coughing a lot. Asthma, anemia, and infection could be the culprits behind this new development, or your heart could be having issues with its valves or pumping blood.

Extreme Fatigue

We're not talking about tired from the lack of sleep—this is extreme fatigue. It's like having a severe case of the flu that never goes away. Lots of people blow this off, thinking it's nothing and that they'll feel better soon. However, this fatigue could be signaling that your heart is struggling to deliver oxygen to your body.

Swollen Feet

elevating swollen feetYes, swollen feet can be a symptom of being on your feet all day. Pregnancy and Varicose veins can also cause your feet to swell. But it can also be a sign of your heart's inability to pump blood in an efficient manner. If your swollen feet are due to heart failure, there are usually other accompanying symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue.

Dizziness or Lightheadedness

This is another symptom that could have a non-heart related cause. Getting up too quickly or dehydration can cause this symptom. However, if you're getting dizzy on a regular basis, you should see your doctor to uncover the reason for this. Your heart may have blockages or having trouble maintaining blood pressure.

Extreme Pain While Walking

If you dread moving around due to painful hip and leg cramps that resolve when you're at rest, don't just shrug it off. While this pain could be a sign that you need to exercise more, it could also be peripheral arterial disease or PAD. PAD occurs when fatty plaque builds up in leg arteries, and it's linked to a higher risk of heart disease. However, the good news is that PAD is easily treated.

Frequent Migraines

Woman with a headache, holding her head This could all be in your head. However, sometimes a headache isn't just a headache. Regular headaches could be a signal that your heart is having issues. Migraines, especially those with auras have been tied to certain heart anomalies.

Loud Heartbeat

If you can hear your heartbeat while you're trying to fall asleep, you really shouldn't ignore it. A pounding heartbeat can signal low blood pressure, dehydration, low blood sugar, anemia, or other causes. Of course, it can also be due to a faulty valve, so this situation is something that should be checked out by a doctor, even if you've gotten used to it, or you just change your position to avoid hearing the "thump, thump."

Anxiety, Nausea, Sweating

Anxiety, nausea, and sweating are classic symptoms of a panic attack, but these can also occur due to heart issues. You should be especially concerned if these symptoms are accompanied by chest pain, jaw pain, or pain the back, neck, or shoulders. Don't just wait it out. Taking immediate action could mean the difference between life or death since those who make it to the hospital within the first hour of symptoms like these have a better survival rate than those who wait and see.

It may seem strange that heart problems could be related to symptoms that appear to be unrelated to the heart. If you think about it, though, it does make sense. Your heart is responsible for getting oxygenated blood to every part of your body. If this isn't happening correctly, the affected systems panic and send warnings that there is a problem.

If you're experiencing any of these signs of heart disease or other problems that you believe may be cardiological issues, we strongly urge you to contact the Augusta Health Cardiology Clinic. Give us a call today at (540) 245-7080.