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HomeHealth articleshypertensionWhat Are the Alarming Signs of Heart Diseases?

Heart Symptoms One Should Not Ignore

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Heart diseases are so prevalent these days among people of all age groups. This article explains all the possible alarming signs and symptoms of heart.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. P. C. Pavithra Pattu

Published At November 1, 2021
Reviewed AtAugust 1, 2023

Introduction

Heart disease is the most common cause of emergency visits to hospitals and one of the common causes of death. There is no age limit for heart disease to occur. It can be seen at any age, right from newborns to older adults. Nowadays, the common age group affected is the middle age group. So everyone should be aware of the cardiac symptoms and understand the warning symptoms to address them without delay.

Can Heart Diseases Occur Without Any Signs or Symptoms?

It is not necessary that the heart will always give one clear warning signs for its abnormality. Sometimes signs and symptoms may be new, or they might present with atypical symptoms and are rarely asymptomatic. There will be no heart clutch always followed by falling on the ground, as we see in movies. So it is better to recognize them early if anything is wrong in your heart and get it checked by a cardiologist on time, especially if one is 40 years and above and has associated comorbidities usually associated with cardiac diseases like diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, smoking, and a strong family history of coronary artery disease. One should immediately address the problem and reach the hospital at the earliest.

What Warning Signs and Symptoms Do Heart Diseases Cause?

Let us go through a few signs and symptoms of heart problems.

1. Chest Discomfort -

Chest discomfort is the most common symptom of heart disease. One might feel chest tightness, pressure, or pain if one has a blocked artery. Patients can feel a different kind of pain, or they will experience additional symptoms such as chest compression, heaviness, tightness, and piercing type of pain. Some will say it is penetrating pain, or few might feel like an elephant is sitting on their chest, or few will say it is a pinching or burning type of pain. The feeling of discomfort may last for a few minutes. It may occur during rest or exertion or while doing any activity.

If pain is mild and confined to a particular site and increases after pressing, it might not be a cardiac pain. If the pain is very severe and associated with any other cardiac symptoms, one should immediately rush to the hospital within a few minutes of symptoms or call for emergency care immediately. Always remember, heart problems, even heart attack without chest pain, is possible in diabetic and elderly patients, whereas women are known to have an atypical presentation.

2. Stomach Pain, Nausea, or Indigestion -

These are a few symptoms that might be felt during a heart attack. Though these are usually associated with many other systemic diseases, everyone should be aware that they are also associated with acute heart attacks. People may vomit, or they may have feelings of indigestion. According to studies, women have more of these symptoms than males. So one should not ignore all these as these too could happen in a heart attack. Hence, better to get oneself evaluated if one has any of these symptoms and are prone to a heart attack. Let the doctor take a detailed history of the symptoms and do some necessary investigations to rule out cardiac emergencies.

3. Burning Sensation in the Heart -

This is another common but atypical symptom in case of a heart attack or heart problems.

4. Radiating Pain in the Arm or Pain Spreads to the Arm -

One of the classic symptoms of heart attack is chest pain that radiates to the left arm. It always tends to start from the chest and move outward towards the left shoulder and arm and rarely to the right shoulder. Few of the patients possess pain in the arm that, at times turns out to be an attack.

5. Shortness of Breath -

Shortness of breath or breathlessness is another common presentation of an acute heart attack. It is an angina equivalent, more specifically in elderly patients and patients with diabetes. New onset or sudden onset shortness of breath and rapidly progressive symptoms need urgent evaluation and management. It could be due to an acute heart attack, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, valvular heart disease, or hypertensive emergency and needs urgent management.

6. Dizziness or Lightheadedness -

One may experience fainting or feel dizzy for a moment as a sign of a heart attack, but this may also happen if one does not have enough food or drink or when one stands up very fast or suddenly. But it is an emergency if one has associated symptoms like shortness of breath and chest discomfort, and one should call a doctor right away, as it may be because of dropping down of blood pressure, which makes it difficult for the heart to pump.

7. Pain in the Jaw or Throat -

Most of the time, pain in the jaw and throat may be present because of muscular tissue, teeth, cold, or sinus issue. But when pain is in the chest and radiates to the jaw or throat, it is most probably because of a heart attack. So one should immediately seek medical care to make sure everything is alright.

8. Feeling Exhausted and Weak Easily -

Suppose one feels fatigued even after little physical exertion or exhausted even with climbing steps or carrying a few things that were not tiring before. In that case, one should consult a doctor immediately.

9. Snoring -

Snoring for a bit of time is not that hazardous, but if one snores unusually loud, like gasping or choking, it may be a sign of sleep apnea, and that is when one stops breathing for brief moments, and this will happen several times at night when one is in sleep. This severe snoring puts extra stress on the heart. Hence, it might be a cause or a symptom of a heart attack.

10. Sweating -

Profuse sweating or breaking out in a cold sweat for no obvious reason is a major signal of a heart attack. This can happen along with other symptoms, so it is time one should call an emergency medical care number to get to a hospital right away. In this kind of situation, do not try to drive on own or climb the stairs.

11. A Cough That Does Not Stop -

Coughing is not always a sign of cardiac trouble. When one has heart problems and coughs for a long duration, then understand that one is at risk, and one should pay special attention to the possibilities. When a heart patient has a cough for a long duration and has pink or white frothy sputum or mucus expectoration, it may signify heart failure. In this kind of situation, it is better to visit a doctor.

12. Swelling in the Legs, Feet, and Ankles -

Swelling or bloating in the legs, feet, or ankles could be because of the inability of the heart to pump blood as effectively as it should be. That is the reason blood backs up in the veins and leads to bloating. Because of the inability of the heart to pump blood, it makes it harder for the kidney to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which also contributes to bloating.

13. Irregular Heart Beats -

When an individual is excited, the heart may race or sometimes skip a beat for a while when one is nervous. But it should not happen so frequently. When one feels that the heart is beating out of time more frequently, one should consult the doctor about the concern. It may not always be a heart problem; sometimes, it might be because of inadequate sleep or too much caffeine. But occasionally, it could be a signal of atrial fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia that needs urgent attention. So consulting a doctor is a must.

Conclusion:

If one or anyone you know experiences these symptoms mentioned above, immediately reach a hospital or contact your nearby emergency medical assistance. Ignoring them can cost one’s life until a less severe ailment is proven.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

What Are the Indicators of Potential Heart Issues?

Common indicators of potential heart issues include:


- Moderate to severe chest pain


- Discomfort, tightness, or pressure in the chest, which may extend to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.


- Shortness of breath.


- Sweating.


- Nausea and lightheadedness.

2.

What Should Individuals With Heart Conditions Avoid?

If at risk of developing heart conditions, one should avoid:


- Performing strenuous activities like labor, fitness regimes, and other weightlifting activities.


- Smoking, vaping, or using recreational drugs can damage blood vessels.


- Alcohol and salty, processed foods may raise blood pressure.

3.

How Might a Mild Heart Blockage Manifest in Terms of Sensations?

Mild heart blockages manifest as


- Temporary chest pain, pressure, or discomfort during physical exertion or stress, which will be reduced with rest.


- Pain or numbness that radiates to jaws, neck, or arms.


- Shortness of breath.

4.

Which Medical Examination Is Considered the Most Effective for Heart-Related Conditions?

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is considered the most effective test for evaluating heart-related problems. It records the heart's electrical signals and can identify abnormal heart rhythms, damaged areas, and underlying causes. The painless procedure tracks real-time heart activity, offering key insights.

5.

How Can Someone Differentiate Between Symptoms of Heart Problems and Those Caused by Anxiety?

Heart-related symptoms involve abrupt, pronounced palpitations or skipping beats versus gradually faster heart rates with anxiety. Chest tightness from heart conditions frequently has pain radiating to the arms or jaw too, unlike anxiety. Trouble breathing is constant with heart issues, while anxiety and hyperventilation cause occasional shortness of breath.

6.

What Are Some Signs That Indicate a Healthy Heart?

Key indicators of heart health include:


- Resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute.


- Ability to handle physical activity without exhaustion, along with stable blood pressure of less than 120/80 mmHg.


- There is no shortness of breath for any simple physical activities.

7.

What Factors or Situations Could Potentially Trigger Heart-Related Concerns?

- High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, secondhand smoke exposure, obesity, poor diet, and inactivity are major risk factors capable of triggering cardiovascular disease and heart events like heart attack or stroke.


- High stress levels, alcohol or drug overuse, mineral/vitamin deficiencies, and medical conditions impacting circulation all affect the cardiovascular system over time, accelerating the development of blockages.

8.

Which Physical Activities Might Negatively Impact Heart Health?

Activities involving straining or strength training like heavy weight lifting, squats, lunges, planks, and press-ups can dangerously spike blood pressure and heart rate for those with cardiovascular conditions. Also, intense swimming works the heart too hard without realizing it. General tips include avoiding exercise that makes you hold your breath, significantly elevates heart rate, or uses your body weight as resistance until cleared by your doctor after evaluation.

9.

Can All Heart Conditions Be Identified Through a Blood Test?

No, not all heart conditions can be identified through a blood test alone. Blood tests like lipid panels checking cholesterol levels or tests for heart enzymes called troponins can detect indicators of heart disease, but many heart issues may require additional testing.

10.

Does an Electrocardiogram (ECG) Effectively Identify All Heart-Related Issues?

No, An ECG effectively detects abnormal electrical rhythms and areas of damaged heart muscle but provides limited anatomical information. ECG results guide how additional testing helps diagnose specific conditions.

11.

What Sensations Might Someone Experience With a Stressed Heart?

Common symptoms of a stressed, overworked heart include fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, palpitations, chest pain or pressure, jaw and arm pain, trouble breathing, sweating, nausea, and anxiety, especially during physical exertion.

12.

How to Explain the Concept of Cardiac Anxiety?

Cardiac anxiety refers to excessive fear or worry about having or developing heart disease. The intense anxiety produces physical feelings like chest tightness, palpitations, and breathlessness, which increase concerns about the heart. However, medical testing will show no cardiovascular issues.

13.

Is It Possible for Heart Issues to Resolve on Their Own?

While simple issues such as transient inflammation or arrhythmias can often recover on their own, the underlying cardiovascular illness that is causing persistent or increasing symptoms still necessitates medical attention. Lifestyle changes also reduce the progression of any heart issue.

14.

What Are the Sensations Associated With an Inflamed Heart?

An individual with an inflamed heart may feel many symptoms, which can include:


- Chest discomfort.


- Shortness of breath.


- Fatigue.


- Rapid or irregular heartbeat.


- Swelling.


- Dizziness or lightheadedness.

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Dr. Yermal Tanmai Deelip

Cardiology

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