The heart is a muscular organ almost the size of your fist that works like a pump. It’s located on the left side of your chest near the center. This organ is divided into two parts, the right and the left where the right side includes the right atrium and ventricle which collects and pumps blood to the lungs via the pulmonary arteries. The lungs then supply fresh oxygen into the pumped blood and remove carbon dioxide.
The blood high in oxygen supply is then pumped into the left side of the heart which includes the left atrium and ventricle. It’s then pumped through the aorta into the body. However, in some cases, the heart doesn’t function as expected leading to heart conditions that can be fatal. Heart disease signs depend on what type of heart disease you have and indicate different types of heart disease. To know if you might be struggling with a heart condition, here are some signs you need to look out for.
Several health conditions can cause fatigue but persistent, unexplained tiredness might be a sign that your heart is not pumping well. Cases of extreme fatigue might signal congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease or valvular heart disease where there is a blockage or a valve issue.
Shortness of breath and chest discomfort
In other cases, you might even experience shortness of breath where you gasp for air after a small activity like walking around your backyard which could also indicate atherosclerosis. Shortness of breath can also be accompanied by chest discomfort or angina where you experience excessive tightness, heaviness and pressure on your chest due to cardiac distress.
Sweating after being under the hot sun or at the gym is normal. But excessive sweating where you are feeling hot accompanied by chest pains might signal that something is wrong with your heart.
Sleeping difficulties like waking up in the middle of the night such as at 2 am, sleep apnea or snoring might signal heart conditions like arrhythmia, congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease. During sleep, the heart is supposed to function normally but in cases of heart failure, you might experience sleep interruptions.
Heart rate changes
It’s quite normal for your heart rhythm and rate to feel unusually fast or uneven such as when you take too much caffeine or panic. These are called heart palpitations. However, in cases where you are just sitting and your heart rate suddenly increases, it could mean you’re at risk for heart disease. It might signal high or low blood pressure, valvular heart disease or congestive heart failure.
Dizziness indicates a lack of proper blood flow and distribution of oxygen into the brain. One of the causes is abnormal heart function mostly when it occurs while you are standing. It might be a sign of valvular heart disease, high or low blood pressure or congestive heart failure.
Swelling body parts
Swelling in body parts like the feet, legs and ankles can be a sign of heart failure or kidney disease or liver failure. Press your finger on the swollen part to check if it leaves an indent. If it does, you’ll have to check with a doctor to determine the underlying issue since it might signal congestive heart failure or valvular heart disease.
Some people experience difficulty in walking accompanied by painful leg cramps. This might be an indication of atherosclerosis where blood circulation is impaired due to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances that blocks your heart’s artery walls.
Cases of indigestion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and lightheadedness might be signs of coronary artery disease. In some cases, it comes with heartburn and a cold sweat.
A continuous irritating cough or wheezing that doesn’t stop might be a sign of coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure. It’s as a result of fluid buildup in your lungs due to a heart problem.
Painful body parts
An impaired heart can cause cardiac contraction leading to some chest pains. Apart from chest pains other body parts can also be painful such as the arms, leg, shoulders, abdomen, back, stomach, or jaw. This might be a sign of coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis.Heart disease can be fatal and needs to be detected and treated early. In extreme cases where you were caught unawares and feel that you might be having a heart attack, call 911 or emergency medical help immediately. If you have any doubts regarding your heart health or developing heart disease, talk to your doctor, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. The doctor will advise on the best foods such as superfoods and lifestyle changes to make to improve your heart condition.