It’s hard to imagine, but every year more than 18 million people die of heart diseases that were not diagnosed in time. Why is the mortality rate so high? The main reason is the fact that people simply cannot recognize the symptoms of the disease, or do not want to seek medical help.
Of course, if a person feels acute chest pain, they will definitely call the ambulance, but not all signs of the diseases are so obvious and acute; they vary depending on the characteristics of the body – from mild shortness of breath to acute pain in the left or right hand.
Since the symptoms of heart diseases are difficult to detect, doctors recommend paying attention to warning signs; do not expect them to go away on their own or to be the symptoms of other diseases: pay attention to heartburn, myalgia, and other ailments that are much less dangerous to life and health.
According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, it is men and people over 65 who are at the highest risk of heart diseases. This group also includes obese people, patients with high cholesterol or diabetes mellitus, smokers, and people with a genetic predisposition to heart disease.
Cardiologists say that the more risk factors there are, the more likely it is that a number of symptoms indicate a heart problem. Often people do not want to admit that they are old or that they have some health issues; they prefer to believe that their heart will always stay healthy.
And while ignoring some minor diseases is not so dangerous, any heart-related problem can lead to sudden death. Well, going to the doctor to be tested is better than dying, isn’t it?
So, here are the 12 symptoms of heart diseases that should not be ignored!
1. Attacks of anxiety.
Sometimes heart attacks are accompanied by anxiety and distinct fear of imminent death. People, who have suffered heart attacks claim that before the incident, they felt hopeless, doomed, and had suicidal thoughts.
2. Uncomfortable sensations in the chest.
Chest pain is a classic symptom of heart attack, says Gene McSweeney, Ph.D. in medicine from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. However, chest pains will not always accompany an attack; moreover, some other diseases that are not related to the work of the heart may cause this sensation.
Heart pains always appear in the middle of the chest or slightly to the left of it. Patients characterize these sensations as if an elephant stepped on the chest – the pain feels like a kind of compression or increase of the in-chest pressure.
Dr. McSweeney says that mild chest pains are typical for women, so there is no need to panic from slight discomfort, especially if it doesn’t happen often. Women are much more likely to experience chest burning rather than pain.
Nissa Goldberg, an expert in heart symptoms, claims that women quite often mistake this pain as a stomach or digestive tract problem.
Regular coughing and shortness of breath also are the symptoms of probable heart failure; the cause is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. In some cases, the cough may contain red phlegm. Despite the fact that such a symptom can occur in other diseases, it should not be ignored.
4. Frequent dizziness.
A heart attack often goes hand to hand with dizziness and even loss of consciousness. Patients may also experience arrhythmias and palpitations.
5. Rapid fatigue.
Extreme fatigue during a heart attack and over the next days and weeks can be the only symptom. Also, lack of energy can indicate heart failure. Yes, fatigue can be caused by many reasons, and here the question arises:
how to distinguish it in different cases?
Dr. Goldberg says that if you feel so awful as if you were squeezed and crushed, you definitely should do something with that.
6. Nausea and lack of appetite.
Vomiting and nausea are common symptoms of heart attacks, and fluid accumulating in the abdomen can often cause a lack of appetite and unpleasant sensations in the stomach.
7. Pain in different parts of the body.
Most attacks cause painful sensations in various organs and parts of the body. It can be stomach, arm, shoulder, neck, jaw, etc. And sometimes the chest does not hurt at all, while the hand gives excruciating pain.
And if you feel that the pain also “travels” through the body, appearing in different places, then you should consult a cardiologist as soon as possible. Men most often feel the pain in the left hand, and women can feel it in both hands or in the area of the back between the shoulder blades.
8. Abnormal heart rate.
Arrhythmias could trigger you to feel premature heartbeats, or you may really feel that your heart is racing or beating too slowly. Other indicators and signs could also be related to your heart not pumping effectively because of the fast or slow heartbeat.
These include shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or close to fainting, and chest pain or discomfort. Seek urgent medical care in case you immediately or frequently expertise any of those signs and symptoms at a time once you would not expect to feel them.
9. Shortness of breath.
People who sometimes feel short of breath after a little exercise or even at rest are likely to have lung disease. But these symptoms may also indicate developing heart failure or heart attack.
Doctors say that some people do not feel pressure sensations during the attack, but have severe shortness of breath as if they`ve run a marathon. When you are short of breath, you may also feel discomfort and some kind of pressure inside your chest.
10. Excessive sweating.
Cold sweat is one of the clear and direct symptoms of a developing heart attack. If a person sitting in a chair suddenly begins to show profuse cold sweat, you should immediately call the ambulance, as there is a high possibility of a heart attack.
11. Increased body edema.
In case of heart failure, fluid begins to linger and accumulate in the body. This causes the formation of edema in the calves and thighs, as well as sudden weight gain, which is the sign of intra-abdominal edema. It is also usually accompanied by a decrease in appetite.
12. Feeling too weak.
Patients who have experienced heart attacks claim that a few days or hours before the attack, they felt weak like never before in their entire life. Most people found it difficult to even hold a piece of paper in their hands.
Types of heart diseases and how to recognize them:
Hypertension and coronary artery disease are the most common types of heart disorders that can develop at any age. The symptoms of these diseases are the following:
• Pain of different intensity and duration in the left-hand part of the chest. For example, in case of a heart attack, a person may feel a very intense pressing pain for more than 20 minutes, and a dose of nitroglycerin won’t help;
• Heart rate arrhythmia, disturbances in the work of the heart and even short-term stops;
• Frequent shortness of breath;
• Increased heart rate or tachycardia. Vegetative-vascular disorders such as weakness, reddish or pale skin color, increased sweating, dizziness, and loss of consciousness may appear.
How to distinguish heart pain from stomach pain?
Since the stomach and the heart are in close proximity to each other, any pain in the chest area should be examined thoroughly. The question of what hurts, stomach or heart, is always relevant.
What are the most common symptoms of pain in the stomach?
• you feel pain in the epigastric region, but it can vary depending on the structural features of your body;
• In case of stomach diseases, pain appears after having a meal or in case of prolonged starvation;
• In case of ulcers, abdominal pain occurs approximately 40-50 minutes after eating;
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will not eliminate the pain, but may even aggravate it;
• Pain only stops after using antacid medications.
Modern methods of heart disease treatment:
The course of the treatment of heart disease depends on the type of the disease and the health conditions of the patient. In most cases, conservative treatment is used but is especially in severe cases of diseases or if the doctor considers such an intervention appropriate, surgical methods can be applied.
Medical treatment involves the use of different groups of drugs prescribed by a doctor:
• anticoagulants are taken to reduce the risk of blood clots, especially in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy;
• Antiarrhythmic drugs help cope with disturbances in heart rate and short-term stops;
• Anti-atherosclerotic drugs prevent plaque formation, which is the main factor of the development of coronary artery disease;
• For reducing and normalizing blood pressure, doctors prescribe antihypertensive drugs;
• Sedatives are used to treat insomnia and neuroses.
In congenital or acquired heart defects, you may need surgical intervention performed by a cardiac surgeon. In case of severe heart rate arrhythmia, pacemakers are surgically installed.
Folk remedies for heart diseases:
Folk remedies are often used for the prevention and treatment of heart diseases; however, they must be discussed with the attending cardiologist. For example, in the case of certain contraindications, the remedy made of garlic or hawthorn may not only fail to help with chest pains but also cause complications and additional health problems.
To improve electrolyte balance in the body and add more potassium to your diet, you may eat this famous harmless heart mixture. It’s made of honey, grated lemon, and dried fruits – raisins and dried apricots will do.
Put the mixture in the fridge at a temperature of about 4 degrees centigrade, and eat one spoon of the remedy once a day. This mixture will help you stabilize blood pressure, prevent the formation of blood clots in the vessels, and generally reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes at any age.
And finally, here are the TOP-5 foods for the prevention of diseases and stabilization of heart function:
they are very high in vitamin E and fatty acids. These compounds cause a rapid decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body. Due to the high content of phenolic compounds, olives eliminate inflammation, prevent thrombosis and protect against oxidative stress.
2. Whole grains
Whole grains are very rich in fiber, which lowers blood cholesterol and sugar levels. Consuming whole grains regularly significantly reduces the risk of stroke.
Oats have unique heart-strengthening properties due to the content of selenium, magnesium, manganese, and fiber, which, together, have a complex effect on reducing cholesterol.
4. Leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetables stabilize blood pressure, prevent diabetes and reduce the level of homocysteine – the substance that attacks the inner walls of blood vessels. This effect is caused by a high content of various vitamins and minerals.
Blueberries are very beneficial due to anthocyanin, fiber, vitamin C, and other components that counteract the clogging of blood vessels. Doctors claim that blueberries are no less effective than some special medications.
Heart malfunctions are the most dangerous and widespread health issues all over the planet; just keep in mind that the deadliest disease in the world is coronary artery disease. Even if there are presently no signs of an issue, or you imagine yourself to be in a glorious physical condition, the nature of coronary heart illness makes it a stealthy opponent, sneaking up on those who least count on it.
Being a silent killer, heart illness usually happens with no signs until a major health occasion such as a coronary heart attack or a stroke. This is why it is important to decide your risk components now, recognizing the signs early and looking for preventative treatment while time still allows.