Heart disease it the most common cause of death among men and women in the United States. In fact, heart disease kills more people in the United States than all forms of cancer combined. One reason that heart disease can be so deadly is that often people do not notice in time the signs that something is wrong.
The warning signs are usually sufficient to recognize, if you know what to look for. For those of us over the age of 65 and for those others who have a high risk factor, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes and those people with a history of heart disease in their families, it is important to be monitored by a physician.
The following is a list of warning signs of heart disease so serious that a heart attack may occur:
Intense stress or tension can be a pre-curser to heart disease and heart attack. Many victims of heart disease have described a feeling of despair prior to experiencing a heart attack.
Although not all pains in the chest indicate a heart attack and many ailments may cause pain in the chest area, this symptom is the first symptom that experts want to know about when treating a patient for a possible heart attack. Often emanating from under the breastbone, the pain of a heart attack has commonly been described like a huge weight sitting on top of the chest. Heart attacks often feel like an ache or pressure, though sometimes it seems so minor the victim does not even take an over the counter pain reliever. Women, in particular, describe a heart attack as a burning sensation, often misunderstanding the problem to be in the stomach rather than the chest.
Resulting from fluid accumulation in the lungs, coughing or wheezing can accompany a heart attack. The cough can be so severe that the sufferer expels phlegm containing a small amount of blood.
Dizziness and/or Rapid or Irregular Heart Rate
Heart failure commonly causes a loss of consciousness or a sense of dizziness. A similar feeling can also be caused by the heart rhythm condition called arrhythmia, where the heart rate becomes irregular or accelerated for no apparent reason. An occasional missed heartbeat can happen with no health concern, but where the heart rate becomes irregular or accelerated out of control, a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office is warranted.
Fatigue and/or Weakness
An unexpected or unusual sense of fatigue can signal the onset of a heart attack. Often the person might feel exhausted for no reason in the weeks prior to a heart attack. Of course, many people feel tired for many reasons, but a significant level of fatigue or weakness is a common sign of imminent heart failure. If you feel ill and constantly tired, you may benefit from seeking treatment and avoiding a heart attack.
Nausea or Lack of Appetite
Nausea or a lack of appetite often is a warning sign of heart failure. It is very common for a heart attack victim to feel no desire to eat or an unsettled feeling of nausea prior to or during a heart attack.
Pain in Other Parts of the Body
Heart failure might cause pain to arise in the arms, legs, neck, back or elsewhere in the body even in the absence of chest pain.
Shortness of Breath
If you feel out of breath by just walking across the living room, this could be a sign of a heart attack either occurring or on the horizon. Not all heart attacks cause chest pain, but rather can simply be accompanied by a feeling of being winded by the slightest movement or no movement at all.
Most of us are familiar with the feeling of perspiring from a strenuous workout. But imagine if that same level of perspiration occurred while you were at home watching television. Where a sudden cold sweat begins while undergoing no form of exertion, a heart attack could be about to happen or is already underway.
The presence of additional fluids throughout the body can be a symptom of imminent heart attack. Additional fluids may cause swelling of the feet, legs, ankles or abdomen and, understandably, may also cause weight gain. Loss of appetite may also accompany this symptom.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined, or if you have the slightest suspicion that you suffer from heart disease, your best move would be to contact a hospital or a physician for an examination. While tests could reveal your symptoms are merely the result of heartburn or a strained muscle, your peace of mind and general health will be best served by seeking medical help.