Heart Failure kills 610,000 people a year in the United States alone. It is the number 1 killer of women and more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
The tricky part is that heart disease manifests early symptoms that most patients often overlook. Awareness of these signs can spell a huge difference between life and death.
Check out some of these signs that your heart might be needing a little more checking up.
You get tired quickly doing physical activity
If you normally do some exercise with ease but suddenly aren’t able to, it may be a sign that the heart is not pumping enough blood throughout the body. The kind of tiredness you’d feel is similar to a severe flu-like fatigue.
According to Doctor Erin Michos, Associate Director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland, “Activities that used to be easy and now are suddenly met with new difficulty can be a red flag that something is wrong.”
If even after rest or sleep you still feel fatigued, it is worth consulting it with your doctor.
You’re experiencing erectile dysfunction
This condition is a classic warning sign of a heart disease. Erectile Dysfunction may stem from anxiety, depression and stress, but it could also result from blocked arteries in the heart which prevents blood from flowing properly to your manhood.
“Erectile dysfunction symptoms often precede the onset of heart symptoms by at least two years,” says Dr. Michos. “The detection of erectile dysfunction offers a window to intervene and stop cardiac disease in its tracks.”
Your blood pressure is high
It is a common knowledge that a high blood pressure diagnosis increases your risk of heart attack. When the blood is constantly pushing against the blood vessels at a high rate, it forces the heart and blood vessels to work harder and less efficiently.
You get a sudden persistent cough
Coughing is a very common symptom of colds, but it could also be a sign of possible heart failure. When fluid in the lungs due to congestive heart failure exists, the body’s response would be a wheezing and a cough. This kind of cough actually persists even after taking some suppressants.
You have trouble breathing during sleep
When you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, you may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This has been linked to a higher risk of heart attacks or atrial fibrillation. When this happens, the oxygen levels fall and the body’s response is to make blood vessels tighten up to increase oxygen flow to the heart and brain, causing the shortness of breath.
Your legs are hairless
This may sound like a sweet deal for some ladies who want to sport smooth legs, but it could actually be a warning sign of a heart disease. It could mean that your legs lack oxygen because of your narrowed arteries reducing the blood flow. Because of it, the hair follicles fail to grow.
“With peripheral arterial disease (PAD), you can get hair loss or slow hair growth on their legs due to poor circulation,” says Dr. Michos.
You have swollen feet and legs
Not to be confused with getting fat, this condition actually makes your legs and feet swollen with excess fluid. When your heart isn’t working well, your veins end up pushing excess fluid into your body tissues causing body parts such as feet, legs, abdomen, and even scrotum to swell.
You have neck or jaw pain
It is a common misconception that chest pain is the first sign of heart trouble. In fact, it can manifest in other parts of the body. When there is pain in neck or jaw, it may be a sign of angina. It is an underlying problem that happens when the heart lacks oxygen-rich blood.
Do you or someone you know experience these signs? Do not think twice of mentioning it to your physician!