On World Heart Day, we bring our attention to heart health and the risks associated with heart disease. Our heart is one of the most vital organs in our body, pumping blood around the clock, supplying oxygen and nutrients to every cell. But often, it’s only when our heart starts to falter that we realize its importance.
In the spirit of preventative health and early detection, we are highlighting 10 signs of an unhealthy heart that you should never ignore. Awareness and timely action are the key to maintaining a healthy heart and a life filled with vitality.
10 signs of unhealthy heart you should know
If you often feel tired or fatigued for no apparent reason, it could be a sign that your heart is having to work harder to keep your body running. This is especially true for women and could be the only symptom of a heart problem in some cases. When your heart is not functioning properly, it can’t pump enough blood to keep the body running efficiently.
2. Shortness of Breath:
If you experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath while doing activities that you normally handle without a problem, this could be a sign of a heart problem. Shortness of breath can occur before or during a heart attack, and it can also be a sign of heart failure.
3. Dizziness or Fainting:
Feeling lightheaded or fainting can be symptoms of heart problems, more specifically, an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia. Don’t brush off occasional fainting spells, get them checked out. In addition, dizziness or lightheadedness can also be a sign of blocked arteries, resulting in reduced blood flow to the brain.
4. Chest Discomfort:
The most common sign of heart danger is chest pain — you may feel pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest. This feeling of chest uneasiness usually lasts for a couple of minutes. It may happen when you’re at rest or when you’re doing something physical or if it’s just a brief pain or if you’re not sure, get it checked out anyway.
5. Swelling in Legs, Feet, and Ankles:
When your heart isn’t pumping blood effectively, fluid can accumulate in your tissues – leading to swelling, known as edema. The lower extremities such as legs, feet, and ankles are particularly affected due to gravity. Moreover, if you’re experiencing swelling along with other symptoms on this list, it could be a sign of heart issues. Keep in mind that swelling can also be caused by other health conditions, so it’s important to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.
6. Irregular Heartbeat:
Also known as arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat is a sign that your heart isn’t functioning properly. While arrhythmia can be normal in some cases, if it’s accompanied by dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention. You should never ignore an irregular heartbeat as it can lead to more serious heart conditions. Moreover, it can be a sign of an underlying heart problem and requires medical attention.
7. Persistent Cough:
A persistent cough that produces white or pink mucus might be a sign of heart failure. This occurs when the heart can’t keep up with the body’s demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs. Moreover, a cough that won’t go away can also be a symptom of heart valve disease. It’s a good idea to get it checked out if it persists for more than a month.
8. Nausea or Loss of Appetite:
People suffering from heart issues can experience feelings of nausea or a lack of appetite, often because of a bloated feeling that may occur when the digestive system doesn’t receive enough blood. When the digestive system isn’t functioning properly, it can cause a loss of appetite. Moreover, certain medications used to treat heart problems can also lead to nausea or loss of appetite.
9. Pain in the Arm:
If your left arm is hurting, it could be a sign that a heart attack is occurring. This happens because the pain from your heart travels along the nerves that also run down your arm. It can feel like a heaviness, or like your arm is being squeezed. If you experience this pain, seek medical attention immediately. Many people overlook this symptom, assuming it’s caused by something else.
10. Excessive Sweating:
Frequently breaking out in a cold sweat for no normal reason could signal an unhealthy heart. It might feel more like stress-related sweating than perspiration from exercising or spending time outside in the heat. Moreover, if your weight and diet are more or less under control, then this could be an alarming sign.
To summarize, it’s crucial to listen to your body and be aware of any changes or symptoms that could indicate an unhealthy heart. If you experience any of these signs, make sure to consult with a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to serious complications, so take care of your heart and prioritize your health on World Heart Day and every day.