Cardiologists warn not to ignore these symptoms


In the movies, it’s not unusual for a character having a heart attack to dramatically clutch his chest, then collapse in a heap. In real life, however, there are warning signs of cardiovascular disease, and knowing them can ensure you get help before the problem turns into something potentially life-threatening.

Fortunately, there are clues the body gives to tell us that its circulatory system may be at risk, according to Reid Health Heart & Vascular Center. However, many people tend to ignore them. The fact is that most heart damage occurs very soon after a heart attack, so paying attention to the signs as soon as you detect them can save your life.

Here are seven clues you may have heart disease:

1. Shortness of breath: Being out of breath even though you haven’t exerted yourself is a common warning sign in both men and women. It can occur with or without chest pain. In fact, women are more likely to have heart disease without experiencing pain in the chest area.

2. Lightheadedness or dizziness: People whose brains are not receiving enough blood due to blocked arteries may experience dizziness, also called “vertigo.” While there are other reasons a patient may report being lightheaded, if you are experiencing dizziness you should see a doctor.

3. Chest pain, pressure or tightness: This is a classic symptom of a heart attack, but strangely enough, some people—particularly women—can have a coronary without ever feeling any chest pain at all. However, if you are experiencing an unusual sensation of fullness or squeezing in the chest, it’s time to see a physician—right away.

4. Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, arms or back: In addition to or instead of chest pain, some people feel discomfort in other parts of the body. For some women, this may be the only actual pain they feel. If there’s no obvious reason you should be experiencing this, see your doctor immediately.

5. Cold sweats: Profuse sweating while resting is a warning sign of a heart issue. This is different than the sweating you get from exercising strenuously. Instead, this heavy perspiration has been described as the way you feel when you are sick.

6. Fatigue or weakness: A compromised cardiovascular system can sap you of your normal strength. If you’re so weak that you can’t do your normal activities or you feel as though you have a case of the flu that doesn’t go away, it may not be a virus after all.

7. Coughing or wheezing: Chronic coughing or wheezing may be another clue that there’s a serious problem brewing. Fluid may be building up in your lungs due to impaired circulation. Be especially alert if it persists for a long time and the mucus is pink or bloody.

Nobody wants to face the fact that they may have cardiovascular disease.  Many people go into denial mode. But wouldn’t you rather know early enough to be able to get preventive medical attention and make healthy changes in your life?

By listening to the clues your body is sending, you can take action with a vascular health screening before a suspected problem becomes a full-blown crisis. If you have any of these signs, seek medical help right away.

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