What Are the Early Signs of Heart Disease?

February is American Heart Month, which provides an excellent opportunity to renew awareness of the importance of heart health, and how to observe (and not ignore) signs of heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is a range of conditions that involve congenital heart diseases, rhythm problems, and heart-valve issues.

These cardiovascular conditions are collectively the number-one cause of death, causing a much higher percentage of fatalities than do the various types of cancer. The good news is that we do have the power to lower our chances of developing heart disease.

Many of these heart illnesses and conditions present early signs and symptoms that we should learn how to recognize. This way, we know when to seek prompt treatment.

First Symptoms of Heart Disease

Early intervention can save lives. The following signs can indicate a heart attack or other type of heart disease, and they therefore warrant quick medical attention:

Chest Pains

The classic sign of heart trouble is chest pain. However, a heart attack does not always cause chest pains.

When it does cause pain, it is usually intense and heavy. Many people who have had a heart attack describe the sensation as feeling as if something is constricting their chest. Many feel like a heavy object was sitting on their torso.

If the discomfort lasts longer than several minutes, or if the pain is sudden and very intense, see a doctor right away. Less severe causes of this symptom, such as indigestion, will not cause chest pain for extended periods of time – the symptom will generally move downward into the upper abdominal area.

Left Arm Pain and Jaw Pain

Another characteristic of heart attack pain is that people sometimes feel it outside of the chest area. In many cases, the pain seems to radiate through the left arm. People may also feel the sensations quickly move upward into the throat or jaw.

When in doubt, it’s best to consult a medical professional. Early treatment of heart disease can reduce death rates as well as the risk of complications.

Dizziness and Nausea

Another usual sign of an impending heart attack is a sudden feeling of dizziness. Nausea may also accompany other symptoms you might feel. These signs indicate a sharp drop in blood pressure, which suggests that your heart is struggling to keep up with its workload.

Unexplained Sudden Fatigue

When you feel tired for normal reasons, it’s a signal that your energy expenditures exceed the capacity that your body can handle. However, a red flag is when fatigue starts to set in even when you’re in the middle of doing day-to-day activities, such as climbing stairs or walking. Excessive and sudden fatigue may be an early symptom of heart failure, which is a prolonged event where the ability of the heart to pump blood progressively weakens.

Overview of Heart Attack Symptoms

General symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Intense heavy or constricting feeling in the chest
  • Chest pain that spreads upward to the neck, back, jaw, or arms
  • Suddenly feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Breaking out into a cold sweat
  • Intense fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or abdominal pains

Either way, do not attempt to diagnose it yourself, but get an evaluation by a skilled medical provider. It is better to err on the side of caution, because a heart attack can be fatal.

Taking Care of Your Heart

If you feel one or more of the signs listed above, see a healthcare provider right away to get checked for heart failure.

Here at AlphaCare Wellness Center, Dr. Catherine Oseni gives her clients integrative health programs that will help them manage their weight and strengthen their bodies against disease. Dr. Catherine Oseni is the leading expert in Integrative and Functional Medicine in the Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oseni, call (817) 550-6332 or request a consultation now. We look forward to helping you achieve total health and wellness!

 

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