Every year, nearly 650,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in America, causing one out of every four deaths. Because of this, it is important to know the early signs of heart disease. If you notice some of these signs of heart disease in yourself or a loved one, don’t wait. Contact your doctor, or call 911 in a medical emergency.
Before we get into the signs and symptoms, what is heart disease? The term actually refers to a few different diseases. The most common one is coronary artery disease. This blocks the blood flow to the heart, which can cause a heart attack.
Many people do not know they have heart disease until they experience an extreme symptom, such as a heart attack or heart failure. That is another reason it is important to know early signs of heart disease. Here are five of them.
Angina is a tightening in the chest. It is one of the most common signs of heart disease, but most people dismiss it for years as nothing important. Angina can feel like heaviness in the chest, pain that is either shallow or deep, squeezing, or a weight on the chest. Many people mistake it for indigestion or heartburn. If you think you may be experiencing angina, talk to your doctor about heart disease.
Atherosclerosis, also referred to as the hardening of the arteries, is another early sign of heart disease. This is caused by high levels of cholesterol. When your cholesterol intake is too high, plaque builds up in your arteries, making it more difficult or impossible for blood to flow through. Most people notice atherosclerosis when lack of circulation makes their feet and hands cold.
3. Dizziness or shortness of breath
Seemingly random dizziness and shortness of breath can be signs of heart disease. It is normal to be out of breath after exercising or otherwise exerting yourself. However, if you find yourself struggling for breath for no reason, contact a doctor. Dizziness can also be a sign of lack of blood flow through the heart.
4. Rapid pulse or heart palpitations
A quick pulse and a rapidly beating heart are two additional early signs of heart disease. Again, these things are normal after working out. People with anxiety also sometimes experience a rapid heartbeat during a panic attack. That being said, your heart should not start palpitating out of nowhere. If you have a rapid pulse with no cause, it could indicate heart disease.
5. Obesity and other risk factors
These are less early signs of heart disease and more risk factors, but they’re still important to know. Diabetes, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet can all lead to heart disease developing in the future. In addition to looking out for the early signs of heart disease above, one of the best things you can do is try to mitigate your risk factors.
Eat healthy meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables and few processed foods. Limit your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water daily. Do some sort of physical activity every day and exercise regularly if you can. Doing these things can help you live a healthy lifestyle and lower your risk for heart disease.
Have signs of heart disease?
If you’re worried about the possibility of heart disease, Bass Medical Group can help. They have doctors who specialize in cardiology and can help you recognize early warning signs. Call (925) 350-4044 to schedule an appointment today.