The heart is an organ worth listening to, but sometimes it can become difficult to listen to the signals it’s sending us with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But figuring out what it’s trying to tell you might just save your life.
Heart disease is the number one killer among men and women, accounting for one in four deaths in the United States. What makes matters worse is the fact that many people tend to overlook the symptoms of heart trouble or mistake them for other medical issues. Every moment is vital when it comes to heart concerns, and ignoring them can be fatal. These are 11 serious signals your heart might be sending you that you should consider paying attention to.
11. You Feel Queasy
Are you experience an unsettling feeling in your stomach? It might be more than just a case of nerves. If you suddenly feel knots in your stomach, nausea or are vomiting unexpectedly, then it might be time to visit your doctor, as these symptoms can often be early warning signs of a heart attack. Addressing the problem in time can allow you to fight back and find proper treatment.
10. You’re Out of Breath
Feeling winded is not at all uncommon for people who participate in high-intensity workouts or increase their regular exercise routines. However, if you are struggling to breathe while doing your daily activities, it could be a sign that your heart isn’t too healthy. For individuals who experience heart disease, developing pulmonary edema is common. This occurs when the heart doesn’t effectively carry enough blood to and from your vital organs and your blood pressure increases, causing the transfer of fluid from your blood vessels to the alveoli. In turn, this makes it difficult to breathe and can create a feeling of heaviness in the chest.
9. You’re Dizzy
A little dizziness after certain activities like a day at an amusement park is considered normal; however, when you feel dizzy for no apparent reason, you might be in trouble. Dizziness is commonly associated with heart disease and can be accompanied by pulmonary edema symptoms. Pulmonary edema limits the amount of oxygenated blood being delivered to your organs, and when your brain doesn’t receive sufficient blood, it can cause you to feel woozy.
8. Your Shoulder Aches or Is Numb
The feeling of numbness and pain in the left shoulder is among the most widely reported heart attack symptoms and one you should not ignore. Shoulder pain can stem from a number of causes, including medical conditions like tendonitis or a rotator cuff injury, but if the pain is progressing and moving towards your chest and into your fingertips, you should immediately call 911. In some cases, pain can be experienced in the jaw and neck.
7. You’re Always ExhaustedRelated: 8 Medical Problems That Explain Why You Always Feel Tired
Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in a day to complete all your tasks and get a full night’s rest. There are numerous reasons why you can feel sleepy, from a lack of caffeine to poor sleep, but unshakable fatigue can also be a warning sign that your heart isn’t doing its job too well. When the heart isn’t working properly, it can limit the amount of oxygen-rich blood to your organs, thus causing you to feel drained.
6. You’re Not Hungry
While not being hungry and having your junk food cravings disappear may sound great, your appetite vanishing entirely without warning can be cause for serious concern. Lack of hunger can at times be an early warning sign of a heart attack. Luckily, not being hungry doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dealing with a serious condition; everything from dietary changes to stress can cause your eating habits to alter.
5. Your Thyroid Is Functioning Improperly
The thyroid is a body part that is often not thought about until an issue arises. Unfortunately, when the thyroid gland isn’t working properly, it can quickly worsen your health. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has suggested that both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease, and heart disease can cause thyroid dysfunction by decreasing blood flow and causing hormonal changes. However, the majority of the symptoms of thyroid issues such as fatigue, coughing, and rapid weight gain are also similar to those of heart disease, so by examining one issue, it may lead you to the diagnosis of another.
4. You’re Always ThirstyRelated: 8 Signs You Are Dehydrated
While drinking more water can be incredibly beneficial (the CDC suggests that most adults are drinking less than a third of what they should on a daily basis), a frequent thirst that doesn’t seem to disappear might have to do with your heart rather than dehydration. The combination of electrolyte imbalances and gastrointestinal upset that are linked to heart disease can make you feel thirsty, even when you’ve drunk a large amount of water.
3. You Have Sleep Apnea
You wouldn’t think that snoring is linked to heart disease, but it could be a sign that your heart isn’t working as it should. Heart disease and sleep apnea are often correlated, although it’s not necessarily clear which is the cause of which. If you feel you are not getting enough sleep due to your snoring, you should consider bringing this potential symptom to the attention of your physician.
2. You’re Wheezing
If you feel out of breath and are experiencing breathing sounds that resemble a creaky door being opened and shut, it is time you made an appointment with a doctor. Pulmonary edema can cause wheezing and labored breathing. So if you are noticing your breathing patterns changing or not improving in a few days, you should get help immediately.
1. Your Ankles Are Swollen
Spending considerable time on your feet throughout the day can cause your legs and feet to become swollen. But if you don’t participate in activities that require you to stay upright all day and your feet and ankles still appear to have grown a few sizes, it could all lead back to your heart. Your lungs aren’t the only part of your body that can be affected by edema; for many patients, edema of the lower extremities is a sign that your heart needs to be thoroughly examined.Related: 15 Signs of Poor Circulation
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, you should consider visiting your physician immediately to seek proper treatment.