Most people don’t know this, but not all heart complications come with distinct warning signs. There is not always that frightening chest clutch to be followed by a fall to the ground like we see in countless films and television shows. In fact, there are heart symptoms that never happen in your chest area, so it’s never easy to tell what’s going on.
“If you’re not sure, get it checked out,” says director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute Charles Chambers, MD.
Vincent Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman also says that’s especially true if you are 60 years old or above, or overweight, or have diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. “The more risk factors you have,” he says, “the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related.”
The following are some symptoms you should look out for:
4) Chest discomfort.
Chest discomfort is the most common sign that your heart is in danger. If you have an artery that’s blocked or if you’re having a heart attack, you may feel tightness, pain or pressure in your chest area.
According to Chambers, everyone has a different word for that feeling. “Some people say it’s like a burning or pinching feeling,” he says, “others say it feels like an elephant is sitting on them.”
Lasting more than a few minutes, this feeling may happen when you’re doing something physical or even when you’re at rest.
If the pain is very brief, or if the area hurts more if you touch or put pressure on it, it’s probably not your heart, Chamber says. But just to be safe, you should still get it checked by a doctor, he adds. However, if you notice that the symptoms are more severe or won’t go away after a few minutes, you should immediately call 911.
It’s important to note, however, that you can have heart problems and even a heart attack without feeling any chest pain. This is particularly common among women.
3) Stomach pain, heartburn, indigestion or nausea.
According to Chambers, some people may exhibit these symptoms during a heart attack. They may even vomit, he adds. Women are more likely than men to report these kind of symptoms.
Of course, there are many reasons for your upset stomach that have nothing to do with your heart (like something you ate). The point is you need to be aware that an upset stomach can also happen during a heart attack.
If ever you’re feeling this way and you’re also at risk for heart problems, it would be wise to let a doctor find out what’s going on, specially if you exhibit any of the other symptoms stated above.
2) Pain that spreads to the arm.
Another typical heart attack symptom is feeling pain that seems to radiate down the left side of the body. According to Chambers, although it’s common that the pain almost always starts from the chest and spreads outwards, he has had some patients who have reported mainly arm pain that turned to be heart attacks.
1) Getting exhausted easily.
Do you suddenly feel winded or fatigued after doing some activities you had no problem doing in the past like carrying your groceries from the car or climbing the stairs? If so, it’s time for you to make an appointment with your doctor right away.
Unexplained weakness or extreme exhaustion, sometimes for a couple of days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.