Your heart is one of the most vital organs in your body, and heart disease can affect your overall quality of life, even causing permanent disability. Knowing the signs of heart disease can save your life.
At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, we help you understand the signs of heart disease. Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi are experts in both heart and vascular abnormalities. They get you the treatment you need when heart disease strikes.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease isn’t just one condition. The term encompasses several different problems that affect your heart. The most prevalent form of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease decreases the amount of blood to your heart, which could lead to ischemia and a heart attack. Other forms of heart disease include:
These diseases all have the potential to cause damage to your heart and surrounding vessels. If not treated, they can lead to heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest and death.
One in every four deaths in the United States is related to heart disease. There are many risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
While heart disease is a serious condition, it’s usually preventable in most people. Understanding the signs of this condition could potentially save your life.
Understanding the signs of heart disease
As we mentioned above, heart disease encompasses several conditions that cause problems with your heart. The signs and symptoms vary depending on your condition and where it’s causing problems. Some of the key signs of heart disease include:
Chest pain is a sign of a heart attack, which is often caused by a blockage from atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. Chest pain can be described as sharp, heavy, or achy.
Shortness of breath sometimes occurs when you’re working out, but shouldn’t when you’re at rest. If you notice that you’re struggling to catch your breath with your normal activities, it could be due to heart disease and the resulting decreased oxygenation to your body.
Consistently swollen ankles that can’t be attributed to pregnancy or other health conditions are a sign of heart disease. Heart failure causes fluid to build up in your feet and ankles.
Nausea, heartburn, and indigestion are sometimes attributed to a heart attack. While these symptoms occur with gastrointestinal disorders, they can pop up with chest pain, which signals a serious problem with your heart.
Jaw or arm pain
Chest pain isn’t the only painful sign of a heart attack; jaw or arm pain are also signs of a problem, especially if you’re a woman. Arm or jaw pain, along with a general feeling of being unwell and sweating, could be a sign your heart is in trouble.
Feeling tired isn’t a sign of heart disease on its own. In fact, it’s normal to feel fatigued after a long day of work, but if you feel exhausted after putting your clothes on or walking down the stairs, you may have a problem with your heart.
An irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, isn’t normal. Your heart speeds up during physical activity, but slows at rest. If your heart seems to be beating faster while at rest, you could be experiencing an arrhythmia.
Leg pain can signal a problem with your peripheral arteries. Often referred to as peripheral artery disease, this condition causes decreased blood flow to your legs. It leads to cramps and pain in your legs, especially if you’re diabetic or you smoke.
How you can prevent heart disease
If you know you’re at risk for heart disease, we suggest the following tips to avoid heart disease:
- Keep your blood pressure normal
- Control your cholesterol
- Eat healthy
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
You should also refrain from smoking and limit your alcohol intake. Both of these habits increase your risk for heart disease. Sleep also plays a role in developing heart disease, so get enough sleep every day.
Don’t let heart disease take over your life. Call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, today. You can also request a consultation using our convenient online booking tool.