Heart diseases can affect anyone, which is why their knowledge is crucial. It affects people through all stages of life. Infants may have congenital heart diseases, and adults could suffer a heart attack as well. Several pregnant have died due to heart conditions. World Health Organization has revealed up to 4% of pregnant women are at risk of maternal death as a result of cardiac diseases.
Is it possible to know if you’re developing a heart condition already or about to come down with a terrible cardiac problem? There are always signs all over the place, and some may show up on routine tests and examinations. However, it’s possible to notice some of these signs and visit your consultant immediately.
- Chest Pain or Tightness
The underlying mechanism of chest pain in heart conditions is largely due to an obstructed coronary artery. The pressure the blood exerts to push through a narrow or blocked vessel results into pain for the individual. This pain may present as throbbing pain, burning sensation, or even as a pinching pain. Since the heart is housed in the chest, one may be worried about chest pain generally. However, not all chest pains indicate cardiac issues. If the pain is brief and can be pinpointed, then your heart isn’t the one eliciting the sensation.
Chest pain associated with the heart can occur at any time and lasts for a while. Also, one may be having heart problems and not feel chest pain. It is because of such reasons you should visit a physician when feeling any chest discomfort for prompt management.
- Left-sided Pain
People about having a heart attack often feel an overwhelming pain on the left arm. Due to the common origin of the heart and nerves of the left arm, pain is radiated to the left arm during cardiac anomalies. Patients are known to experience this pain as it spreads from the chest and radiates to the left arm and moves to the entire left side of the body. This is very common in people with heart diseases.
- Loss of Consciousness or Light-Headedness
The heart is vital to the proper functioning of the whole body. The brain depends on the heart’s pump to function adequately, as well as other organs. Even the heart itself is sustained by a fraction of the blood it pumps.
This is why a mere dysfunction in the pumping system can cause syncope. The brain requires a constant blood supply to work, and if it is deprived of that for even as little as five seconds, it shuts down, and the person faints. If the lack of blood supply persists, it’s likely to result in an irreversible brain injury.
4.Swollen Legs, Swollen Ankles, and Feet
Humans have several advantages over other creatures, and one of the outstanding ones is the ability to stand upright. However, this puts a keen responsibility on the heart and the blood vessels to get blood to the lowest part of the body, the legs. In a healthy individual, the circulatory system gets blood to the leg without issues. However, when there is heart disease, the heart can’t pump blood appropriately, blood gets backlogged in the leg. This condition presents as swollen feet, ankles, or even the entire legs.
Edema or swelling can be due to other organ failures like that of the kidney. However, one should contact the hospital instantly, when there are other accompanying symptoms like hypertension, difficulty in breathing, quickened heartbeats that can be felt, and easy fatigability. This is the primary signs for an impending cardiac failure – heart attack.
This is a situation where you can feel your heart beating rapidly. There may even be irregular heartbeats being experienced by people with heart diseases. A routine assessment with your doctor will clarify potential heart problems and proper management.
- Elderly Adults of 60 Years and Above
According to the data released by the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) in 2016, the number of elderly adults that are 60 and above undergoing heart transplantation has increased. This information was confirmed by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) as well, with the elderly adults closing on 100% closely. The above information shows that people who have clocked 60 years old should monitor their health closely. Organs of the body deteriorate in their functions as aging progresses, and the heart requires special management, so visit your physician regularly and report any unusual occurrence.
7. Problems with the Digestive System
Several symptoms are experienced in people with heart diseases, and some of them can happen during a heart attack. Below are gastrointestinal signs related to cardiac problems:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Abdominal swelling
If you are already having heart issues and you notice any of the above signs, call your doctor.
8. Easy Fatigability
Impending heart failure can give warning signs such as chest pain that may radiate to the throat and the arm on the left part of the body. Another vital sign of observable is fatigue. You may discover that you’re unable to do the activities you were initially capable of doing without stress. Some other people experience a lack of energy in routine physical activities, and this is also a pointer that one has a heart problem.
- Gasping for Breath during Sleep
When you have to wake up just to catch your breath, it may be a sign of heart disease. Even if you stand up suddenly and start experiencing shortness of breath, you should also check with your consultant. Breathing difficulty is closely associated with cardiac problems.
Certain diseases like Obesity and Diabetes are likely to either have underlying heart disease or lead to one eventually. The condition of having excess fat in the body tends to affect blood vessels and occlude them. Therefore, if you or your loved ones have such conditions, see a doctor for proper diagnosis.
According to WHO, Africa lost about 1.2 million of its inhabitants to heart diseases in 2015. One can only imagine if they knew the red flags to watch out for, some of them would have survived. Watch out for the signs and have a great life.