Contrary to popular belief, not all heart attacks begin and end with the patient clutching their chest, face twisted in pain. In fact, heart attacks aren’t even the only kind of heart disease you should be aware of.
The best thing you can do for your family (and yourself) in the fight to prevent heart disease is to educate yourself about all of the signs and symptoms, not just the ones you see and hear about in entertainment and online.
With that, Hesham Fakhri, MD, and the rest of our team at Vein, Heart and Vascular Institute want to share these six lesser-known signs of heart disease.
Fatigue can be attributed to a number of things, the most obvious being lack of sleep. Fatigue can also indicate that you are stressed, overworked, anxious, or emotionally drained — which you probably already knew.
What you may not know is that chronic fatigue can also signify heart disease, particularly heart failure or coronary artery disease (CAD). In both of these conditions, your heart struggles to perform as efficiently as it should. In the case of heart failure, it’s simply becoming weaker, and in the case of CAD, your heart has to work extra hard to deliver nutrient-rich blood.
Those cankles you get after a long day at work could just be from harmless fluid accumulation that goes away with movement and rest, but sometimes, swollen legs, ankles, and feet can signal heart problems. Try this: Press the swollen area, and if it leaves an indentation, you might have a heart problem.
Fluid accumulation can also be a sign of kidney disease or liver failure, among other things, so give us a call to rule out any serious medical conditions.
Unusual shortness of breath
Don’t brush off shortness of breath as a side effect of being out of shape. While it’s normal to get a bit winded when walking up stairs or doing more activity than you usually would, shortness of breath that occurs without physical exertion can signal heart disease.
Shortness of breath can indicate a range of heart troubles, so tell us about shortness of breath and any accompanying symptoms you have.
Jaw pain and toothaches
You probably don’t go to the dentist expecting to be diagnosed with heart disease, but jaw pain and toothaches can certainly be signs of heart disease. This symptom occurs because of the location of your vagus nerve, which runs from your brain to many different parts of your body, including through your jaw and your heart.
Abdominal pain or acid reflux
Women who report digestive symptoms are misdiagnosed as much as 50% of the time with acid reflux or other digestive disorder — when, in fact, their discomfort is a sign of a heart attack.
If you’ve been experiencing acid reflux-like symptoms, especially sudden-onset symptoms, contact us right away to rule out or confirm (and treat) any medical conditions.
It’s normal and healthy to work up a sweat when you exercise or if you go outdoors in a hot environment, but it’s not usually normal to sweat when you’re sedentary or in a cool building or environment.
If you experience sweating accompanied by chest discomfort or sweating when not exerting yourself, check in with us at Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute and ask if this could be a sign of heart disease, or a heart attack in particular.
If you think you have some of these signs of heart disease, schedule your complimentary consultation or assessment with Dr. Fakhri right away. Call our Tampa or our Wesley Chapel, Florida, office. You can also request an appointment by using our online tool.