The CDC or center for prevention and disease says that almost 610,000 people die of heart disease every year. 550,000 cases of CHF or congestive heart failure are diagnosed yearly, a heart condition not associated with heart attack that affects people of all ages. Almost 1.4 million people with congestive heart failure are below 60 years of age.
Both men and women are affected by cardiovascular disease because of various reasons more commonly connected with certain lifestyles. Here are 8 common warning signs of heart disease that shows your heart isn’t working properly.
1. Pain that spreads to the arm
Among the many warning signs of heart disease, men may experience left arm pain while women may experience pain in both arms where some women have reported pains in the elbow as one of the heart attack symptoms. The reasons being that heart pain travels to the spinal cord where there is an interconnection of nerves that can confuse the brain in thinking that it is your arm that is paining instead.
2. Coughing that won’t quit
Coughing can be due to several issues but it can also be a sign of cardiovascular disease where constant coughing that produces pink mucus containing blood is common to heart disease and congestive heart failure. This is also why CHF is known as congestive because the congestion also makes you cough. Coughing can also be due to dyspnea or a sudden loss of breath.
3. Extreme and unusual levels of anxiety
According to studies, those who suffer with anxiety early in life are also at an increased risk of heart disease. Anxiety because of a stressed out lifestyle, panic disorder, and phobic anxiety all influence the heart resulting in tachycardia, high blood pressure and decreased heart rate. Coping with stress is necessary for a healthy heart. Meditation and yoga can help you cope with anxiety or even exercises like walking, can also beneficial for your heart.
4. Swollen legs, ankles, and feet
Among signs of heart disease, if your heart is not pumping well, then fluid from the blood vessels get leaked into the tissues surrounding the heart. The result is an effect on the hands and feet because of gravity. The condition is known as peripheral edema which can occur even without heart disease. However, when the condition is noted, then it is rather common among heart disease symptoms and congestive heart failure should not be ruled out.
5. Lack of appetite and feeling nauseous
Among the signs of CHF or even heart disease, lack of appetite is a common thing which can also include nausea after eating even a little bit. The main reason for this is the increase of fluid buildup in the liver and intestines impacting proper digestion. Such heart disease symptoms are also followed by abdominal pain. If all these signs are being experienced together, then see a doctor immediately.
6. Skin rashes or unusual spots
Studies and research have shown that eczema and shingles are both factors that increase the risk of heart disease. Those who had eczema possessed a 48% risk of having high blood pressure, 28% high cholesterol and those with shingles had a 59% risk of a heart attack in comparison to people without the condition.
7. Losing consciousness or fainting
Losing consciousness and feeling light headed are common signs of heart disease and CHF. When the heart doesn’t pump blood effectively because of a blocked or clogged artery, or even a narrowing of a valve, then it results in poor circulation and low oxygen around the body. This can make a person feel faint or short of breath for a while. Call a doctor immediately if this happens.
8. Your skin becomes paler or takes on a bluish color
Although this isn’t a common sign of heart disease but it happens in poor blood flow and low number of red blood cells. This is one of the common signs that the heart isn’t pumping enough blood. One of the reasons is shock that causes the paleness in either the entire body or just one part which is usually the face.
If you think you look more pale than usual, there is no need to get frightened and panic, just make sure what you could be suffering from, such as shock or something else like anemia.
9. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is also a symptom of congestive heart failure where your heart doesn’t function properly. In this condition air is prevented from entering the body and if it is allowed to worsen it could lead to the development of various heart problems like high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and atrial fibrillation.
Wheezing is a whistling sound produced during breathing. It usually occurs when you breathe the air out of your lungs through narrowed airways. There are many factors which contribute to the development of wheezing such as bronchospasm or the tightening of the muscles around the bronchial tubes, hypersensitivity which is when your body is quick to react to a trigger like irritants, allergens, or infections, and inflammation of the airways. But, any condition which can lead to the airways getting constricted can cause wheezing.
Other symptoms which also accompany wheezing include shortness of breath and coughing. Anaphylaxis which is a severe and fatal allergic reaction can also cause wheezing.
11. Experiencing shortness of breath
Dyspnea or experiencing breathlessness is a common symptom of heart failure and heart disease. It is a strong feeling of not being able to breathe properly. It can occur in both men and women as early as 6 months prior to a heart attack.
12. Having irregular heartbeat
Panic attacks and anxiety can be the cause behind frequent arrhythmia. This condition is more prevalent in women. Arrhythmia is a condition in which your heart rate increases. It mainly affects people who are at a risk of developing heart problems or are already suffering from heart conditions.
This condition usually lasts for about 1-2 minutes. However, it can sometimes last longer and can make you feel fatigued causing you to blackout and faint. If, you feel like you are having an irregular heartbeat and it isn’t showing any signs of stopping call your doctor immediately.
What you should remember
The best way to tackle signs of heart disease or congestive heart failure is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes maintaining a proper diet and consistent exercise routine because prevention is the best possible way to manage such problems.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding processed food, sugary drinks and sweets will do go a long way in keeping your heart healthy. Exercise plays a big role in strengthening your cardiac muscles but avoid smoking and drinking.
Such heart disease symptoms may not appear in every patient but they are the common factors to take into account where heart disease or congestive heart failure is concerned.