Would you be surprised to know that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death globally? Are you aware that heart disease is also the number one killer of women in the United States?

CVDs include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions. It’s a group of disorders of the heart muscle and the blood vessels supplying the heart, the brain, the legs, and the arms.

The World Health Organisation reports that four out of five CVDs deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes. In fact, one-third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under 70. In addition, spotting a heart attack or stroke can help in the early detection of CVDs. Also, medical counseling and treatment can save your life or that of others.

In this article, we’ll help you read through the signs and symptoms that may indicate an underlying heart issue. Once you’re knowledgeable upon this topic, you can more consciously access vascular care centers and professionals.

Measure Your Heart Disease Risk

Those with high blood pressure, glucose, and lipids, who tend to be overweight and obese throughout their life could be at risk for CVD. With early detection, you can ensure that you receive appropriate treatment, and get access to essential medicine and advice.

Many people are trying to control the risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, some are not aware that they are at high risk. A large number of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by controlling the major risk factors through lifestyle interventions and if necessary, drug treatment.

Therefore, the likelihood of developing CVD or the risk factors include many behavioral and psychological factors such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar or glucose.

The good news is that you can be in control of some of the risk factors. If you want to reduce the chances of having heart problems consider reducing the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, regularly consume fruits and vegetables, increase your physical activity, quit smoking, drink moderate amounts of alcohol and reduce stress. In some cases, additional drug treatment may be necessary to reduce cardiovascular risk and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Pay Attention to the Warning Signals Your Body Is Sending to You

Did you know that oftentimes the first warning signal of a heart problem may be a heart attack? Symptoms of a heart attack include pain and discomfort in the center of the chest, arms, left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back. Pay attention to your breathing, as well as other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, fainting, paleness or cold sweat. It is important to recognize the signs of heart problems in yourself and others at an early stage.

Check to see if you have any of the heart attack and stroke warning signs listed below. Start observing your body, because not all heart attacks are sudden and intense. On the contrary, they can be very subtle. Heart attacks and strokes most often occur when the blood flow to the heart or brain is blocked. This is due to an accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the blood vessels which prevents the blood from reaching the heart or the brain. Strokes can also be a result of bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain or blood clots. The most common cause of heart attack and stroke is a combination of tobacco and alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and obesity, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and diabetes.

How to Spot a Heart Attack?

Usually, heart attacks involve mid-chest discomfort that lasts longer than a few minutes or that disappears and then returns. It may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. You may also feel discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or abdomen. A heart attack may be followed by shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs may include cold sweat, nausea or dizziness.

How to Spot a Stroke?

The most common symptom of a stroke is a sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg. These symptoms usually occur on one side of the body. Other symptoms are sudden and include difficulty seeing, confusion and difficulty speaking or understanding speech, difficulty walking and fainting or unconsciousness.

According to the American Heart Association, you may recognize a stroke in others if one side of their face is drooping or numb. Check if one of the arms is weak or numb by asking the person to raise both arms. Finally, check if his or her speech is unclear and difficult to understand by asking the person to repeat a simple sentence. If someone has these symptoms, even if the symptoms disappear, you should seek urgent medical help.

Other Symptoms of CVDs

Although stroke and heart attacks are the most common warning signs of CVDs, it is important to note that not all symptoms of cardiovascular issues are related to the heart. If you suffer from continuous leg ache and you have noticed that your feet swell up, this may also be a signal for dangerous cardiovascular disease.

How Important Are Family Genetics?

Although genetics plays a role in CVDs, they are only one risk factor for the development of heart problems. Heart problems can run in families, but the fact that no family member has had heart problems in the past does not mean you are not likely to have heart problems. If you experience any of the above symptoms and warning signs you should consider a medical examination and care.

The symptoms of heart attack and stroke are easily perceived. Strokes and heart attacks are sometimes the first warning signs for cardiovascular disease. A rapid response can help with early treatment and prevent the development of heart problems. But you also need to pay attention to the subtle signals, as they can be a warning sign that you have heart problems or other cardiovascular issues.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "How to Spot the Symptoms of an Underlying Heart Problem," in Medicalopedia, March 14, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8470/how-to-spot-the-symptoms-of-an-underlying-heart-problem/].