8 Possible Heart Symptoms that Should Not be Ignored
If something were wrong with your heart, would you know it? Not all heart problems are obvious. Some are subtle and can be mistaken for heartburn, acid reflux or stress. Any type of chest pain or discomfort should be checked out to be on the safe side. However, some people are more at risk for heart complications than others, including those who are overweight or have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Here are eight possible heart symptoms that should never be ignored. If you or a loved one is experiencing them, call 911 right away. Timing is crucial if you are suffering a heart attack.
1. Chest discomfort
Chest pain is the most common sign that something is not right. If an artery is blocked, you may experience chest pain, tightness or pressure. The feeling generally lasts longer than a few minutes and can happen even when you’re resting.
2. Nausea, indigestion or heartburn
Some people experience heartburn and indigestion when they’re having a heart attack. However, heartburn on its own is painful and can be confused for a heart attack. Even experienced doctors can’t tell the difference, which is why you should go straight to the ER.
3. Pain in the left arm
Another heart attack symptom is pain that starts in the arm and moves down the left side of the body. Usually, this sensation starts in the chest and radiates outward, but some people only have mild arm tingling. This pain can also be felt in other parts of the body, such as the jaw, throat, shoulders or back.
4. Dizziness or lightheadedness
If your blood pressure drops, it’s normal to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This is also a sign that your heart isn’t working properly. Dizziness and lightheadedness are most concerning when accompanied by chest discomfort or shortness of breath.
Snoring is something that a lot of us do, but it’s not always normal. Loud snoring that sounds like you’re choking could indicate sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing for brief moments. Sleep apnea puts added stress on your heart but can be successfully treated.
6. Chronic fatigue
If you suddenly feel tired and winded after doing a normal activity, it’s a good idea to schedule a doctor’s appointment. These symptoms, which are more common in women than men, are most worrisome when they last for days at a time.
7. Swollen legs, feet and ankles
If the lower extremities are swollen, it’s a sign that your heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently. As a result, the veins back up and cause bloating. Swelling is a cause for concern, so see a doctor immediately to determine the root cause.
8. Chronic cough
An unusual symptom of a heart issue is a chronic cough. Even though most coughs are associated with respiratory illness or acid reflux, people with heart disease are told to be alert for this symptom. If the heart can’t keep up with the body, it can cause blood to leak back into the lungs, causing a chronic cough.
For more information on heart health, check out some of our health information videos.