Warning signs of heart disease
Not all heart problems start with clear warning signs, and some symptoms of heart disease don’t even happen in your chest.
If you have any risk factors of heart disease—such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or you are overweight—you should pay close attention to the warning signs to prevent a more serious problem.
Symptoms to look out for:
Chest pain is the most common sign of heart disease. You may feel pain, tightness, or pressure on your chest. This feeling can happen when you’re at rest or during physical activity.
Remember, you can also have heart problems without chest pain.
Pain down your arm
Arm pain can be a sign of a heart attack, especially pain down your left arm. If the pain doesn’t go away and goes into your neck, call 911.
Unusually loud snoring that sounds like gasping or choking can be a sign of sleep apnea, which puts extra stress on your heart. Ask your provider about completing a sleep study to see if you have this condition.
Swollen legs, ankles, and feet
Swelling in your lower legs is a sign your heart isn’t pumping blood as effectively as it should. When your heart can’t pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes bloating.
It’s normal for your heart to race or skip a beat when you feel excited or nervous. If this is happening often, talk to your provider.
Tiredness can have many causes but feeling run down can be a more serious problem when you can’t do your normal activities or have sudden, severe weakness.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath may occur with exertion or at rest. In early stages you may have trouble breathing while doing activity, but as your heart gets weaker you feel short of breath when you lie down.
When to call your doctor
Heart disease is easier to treat when it’s found early. Talk to your provider about any signs of heart disease and how to maintain a healthy heart.