Signs Of An Unhealthy Heart You Shouldn't Ignore
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death in lower - middle income countries like India. While economic factors are primarily responsible for the low level of awareness, a growing number of people from the urban middle class and upper middle class are also becoming increasingly susceptible to heart ailments.
Cardiac problems are determined by biological factors like age, gender and family history but progressive deterioration of heart health is triggered by factors like lifestyle, stress, low awareness and more importantly, late diagnosis.
Early Diagnosis, Timely Intervention and Cardiac Care
Globally, CVD continues to be on the rise but despite growing figures, most people seek medical
intervention only when symptoms become severe.
Early diagnosis means early identification of risk factors or any underlying disease, thus ensuring the heart is protected for a longer time. An early diagnosis provides for proper risk assessment, timely treatment, lower complications and even prevention of potentially life -threatening situations.
What Are The Signs Of An Unhealthy Heart?
While diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure are significant risk factors of heart-related problems that can be monitored, the signs of an unhealthy heart may not always be very easily recognizable to a person or it may remain ignored as something not very serious.
1. Irregular Heartbeat: An irregular or abnormal heartbeat may not be noticed very easily and 'arrythmia' is not necessarily always an indicator of an unhealthy heart. But if you do notice an irregular pattern in your heartbeat rhythm, repetition of very rapid or very slow heartbeat, frequent palpitations or shortness of breath or anything else that may seem unusual, then consult a cardiologist at the earliest.
2. Chest Discomfort: Whether its chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure or a pinching sensation, chest discomfort is one of the most common warning signs that the heart sends out when in danger, especially if it's a blocked artery or if there is an impending heart attack.
3. Shoulder and Arm Pain: A slow and gradually building pain in the shoulder area along with chest pain on the left side of the body that eventually spreads down to the arm are signs related to some problem in the heart such as an irregular or interrupted blood flow.
4. Snoring and Sleep Related Problems: Sleep related issues like inconsistent sleep patterns,inability to sleep, disruptions in breathing while sleeping (known as 'sleep apnea') or snoring can be a strong indication of something being wrong with the heart. Usually, one tends todisregard the possibility of these issues bearing any complication but several cardiovascular diseases have been linked with these sleep related problems.
5. Oral Health: An indication of the body's overall health, oral health issues like gum diseases have been particularly identified as being a significant warning sign of some underlying heart problem. Unhygienic lifestyle, lack of dental care and jaw pain combined with chest pain (particularly in women) can be a matter of concern.
6. Swelling Legs, Ankle or Feet: Swelling in any of these parts can be a sign of fluid retention (edema) and and an indication of some underlying problem in the liver, kidney or heart. When the heart doesn't function properly, there is a disruption in the blood flow which causes an increase in the amount and pressure of blood in the veins of the lower limbs. Due to this the ankles and lower leg swells up.
7. Fatigue and Weakness: Severe and frequent feelings of tiredness, especially after walking or an inability to do regular activities are a warning sign that your heart may be facig trouble. If this is followed by difficulty in breathing while lying down flat or after doing some work or waking up at night because of constriction in breathing, then it's time to consult a doctor at the earliest.
8. Cold Sweat: Usually sweating is a sign of the body's natural cooling function but if you tend to sweat regularly even without any physical activity and also experience chest pain, then that is another sign of an unhealthy heart that one must not ignore.
9. Chronic Cough: This can also be an indication of some other ailment but because congestion in the heart leads to fluid build-up in the lungs causing persistent coughing, its better not to ignore it and have a check-up done to prevent complications.
Signs of an unhealthy heart are a reminder that our heart needs attention, and while cardiovascular disease symptoms are different for men and women, some of these signs are the same for both. The presence of these signs does not always mean that you are having a heart attack or there is some serious health problem but it's a warning that your heart needs more care and preventive measures should be taken to avoid further complications.