Heart disease is one of the UK’s leading causes of death, but many of its symptoms can be overlooked.
About 7.6 million Britons live with the disease, and 160,000 die each year.
There are four major types of heart disease: coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and aortic disease.
First, a buildup of fatty cholesterol, normally in arteries, can block the blood supply to the heart and cause a heart attack.
A stroke is caused by a similar disorder that cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain.
Peripheral artery disease can cause similar blood clots in the legs, causing cramp-like pain and weakness.
In aortic disease, on the other hand, the walls of the aorta (the body’s largest blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body) weaken and bulge outward.
Not only do I feel pain in my chest, but sometimes I also feel pain in my back and stomach.
Professor Elijah Bear, a consulting cardiologist at London’s Mayo Clinic and St George’s Hospital, said there may be “significant red flags” in heart disease to look out for.
“For some people, they may be at risk of developing heart disease, but they don’t necessarily have the symptoms that make it stand out.
“But there are symptoms that can cause concern, especially with coronary artery disease, which is arteriosclerosis and is one of the most common causes of heart disease.”
1. difficulty breathing
Gasping and leaking are also signs of possible heart disease.
Feeling short of breath may indicate heart failure (often caused by coronary heart disease), an abnormal heart rhythm, or a heart attack.
“Chest pain on exertion and shortness of breath can be signs of coronary artery disease,” says Behr.
“The symptom of heart failure is shortness of breath on exertion, but for those who are more severely affected, it can also be shortness of breath at rest.
“Some people feel short of breath just lying in bed and need a pillow to get up. That could be a sign of developing heart failure.”
2. swelling of the lower extremities
Swollen legs can be a sign of heart failure as well as poor circulation in the legs.
This may indicate that you have a blood clot in your leg that is blocking blood from returning to your heart.
“Swollen ankles and abdomen are potential signs of developing heart failure,” Behr said.
A pounding heart can also be a sign of heart disease.
Professor Behr says: “Another symptom that may underscore the presence of underlying heart disease is that associated with heart rhythm disturbances.
“They sometimes cause a feeling of palpitations and can disrupt the heart rhythm in some way.
“It could be a fast heart rhythm, an irregular heartbeat, or both.”
If the heart isn’t pumping enough blood to the brain, it can cause lightheadedness and dizziness.
This may be the result of heart failure, an abnormal heart rhythm, or lesser-known signs of a heart attack.
“Severe rhythm disturbances can lead to dizziness and loss of consciousness,” says Behr.
“These are also important symptoms to look out for. Sudden loss of consciousness, palpitations that cause dizziness can be equally serious red flags.”
Five. change in skin color
Poor circulation can cause some skin to turn blue or gray, especially on the hands and feet.
This may indicate a narrowed or blocked blood vessel.
“It depends on whether there is associated disease in the blood vessels that supply the skin, which may indicate coronary artery disease,” says Professor Behr.
“If you have heart failure, the backflow of blood and fluids in your heart and body can lead to tissue congestion,” he said.
“Tissue congestion can generally flow back into the body, which causes swelling and can affect the skin as well.
“There may be changes in skin color and texture, but this is usually in the later stages of heart failure rather than in the early stages.”
6. sexual problems
Men who perform poorly in bed may also be at risk for heart disease.
Problems with erections may indicate a weak blood supply to the man and a problem with the arteries.
Professor Behr says: This can be a sign that there is a problem with the arteries that supply that part of the anatomy.
“It can be a sign, as it can be associated with conditions such as diabetes, but it is often an advanced sign as well.
People with heart failure may feel excessively tired because their organs cannot pump enough blood throughout the body.
“Fatigue is probably a better fit for heart failure symptoms,” said Professor Behr.
8. bleeding gums
Many studies have found that periodontal disease is associated with heart disease.
Some experts believe that bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the heart.
Study finds that periodontal disease increases the chance of stroke
9. black spots under nails
If blood pools under your fingernail, it may be a sign of endocarditis.
It is an infection of the lining of the heart valves and is most commonly caused by bacteria entering the blood and traveling to the heart.
This condition may also indicate diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by up to four times.
Ten. acanthosis nigricans
Diabetes can also cause dark, velvety patches on wrinkled skin areas such as the neck, armpits, and groin.
These are called acanthosis nigricans.
Patches may also have skin tags, which indicate that the body is having a hard time producing insulin.
11. weak grip
Studies show that grip strength can also indicate heart strength.
Studies show that being able to squeeze something well is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
However, improving grip strength alone does not reduce the likelihood of this condition.
12. sleep apnea syndrome
Sleep apnea can put you at risk for high blood pressure, heart rhythm abnormalities, stroke, and heart failure.
When snoring is relieved by stopping breathing, it can reduce the amount of oxygen sent to the brain.
This causes the brain to send signals to the heart to pump more blood, increasing the risk of heart failure.