World Heart Day: 10 warning signs that could indicate deteriorating heart health

World Heart Day: Considering the rise in cases of heart issues, everyone should be aware of the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy heart.
symptoms of an unhealthy heart
Watch out for these signs of poor heart health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Shuvanan Ray Updated: 29 Sep 2022, 12:57 pm IST
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Not all cardiac disorders have apparent symptoms, so understanding even the not-so-obvious symptoms is critical. It can help save a person’s life and help them reach a hospital for timely treatment. Since heart attacks can happen suddenly, they result from long-lasting heart disease caused by various lifestyle factors, including a faulty diet and lack of exercise. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and gaining a deeper understanding of hidden signs and symptoms of an unhealthy heart can go a long way in ensuring that a person can maintain his heart health for the longest possible time.

Why is heart health essential, and how are lifestyle factors impacting the same?

Heart health is essential for your overall health as the heart is responsible for pumping nutrient-rich blood throughout your body, supplying oxygen, and eliminating toxins and waste.

Making healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent and manage heart diseases. Several health issues, as well as your lifestyle, age, and family history, can increase your risk of heart disease.

Some risk factors for heart diseases are uncontrollable, such as age and family history. However, you can reduce your risk by modifying the habits that are in your control.

10 warning signs of poor heart health that you should always take seriously:

1. Chest discomfort

It is the most prevalent warning sign of heart disease. If you have a clogged artery or are experiencing a heart attack, you can feel discomfort, tightness, or pressure in your chest.

symptoms of an unhealthy heart
Chest pain is not always heart attack. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Irregular heartbeat

It is usual for your heart to race when you are nervous or excited or to skip or add a beat now and then. However, consult your doctor if your heart is beating out of time for more than a few seconds or if this irregular heartbeat occurs very frequently.

3. Pain that spreads to the arm

Pain radiating down the left side of the body or your neck is another common sign of a heart attack. If it does not go away or you know you have heart problems, get medical help immediately.

Also, read: World Heart Day: Can a heart attack seem like flu?

4. Choking sensation

The term ‘angina’ means “choking,” and the tightness or pain can occasionally be felt by a person getting a heart attack. People frequently describe occasional “restricting” or “choking” sensation” in the throat. If the sensation persists, you should talk to your doctor.

5. Indigestion, heartburn, or stomach ache

Women are more likely than males to report this type of symptom. These symptoms can be just because of something you ate, but if the problem is persistent, it is advisable to get it checked by your doctor, especially if you are diabetic/smoker/hypertensive.

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symptoms of an unhealthy heart
Digestion problems can lead to gas and acidity! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

Many things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Perhaps you did not eat or drink enough or stood up too quickly. However, if you suddenly feel dizzy and have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, see a doctor immediately.

7. Swollen ankles

Swollen ankles are common and can be due to various reasons. But if your ankles become significantly swollen, it might be a sign of heart failure, but it is also quite common and has a variety of other causes.

Also, read: Want to know how healthy your heart is? Keep an eye on these 5 things

8. Extreme fatigue

Feeling exhausted all the time can be a symptom of heart failure and other illnesses. If you are tired and have been working long hours or staying up late, it is probably not your heart – but if you are experiencing acute fatigue and your lifestyle has not changed, you should see your doctor. Additionally, extreme fatigue or unexplained weakness, which lasts for days, might be a sign of heart disease, particularly in women.

9. Snoring

It is natural to snore a little when sleeping. However, unusually loud snoring that sounds like gasping or choking can indicate ‘sleep apnea’. That is when you stop breathing briefly, many times during the night, while still asleep.

symptoms of an unhealthy heart
Snoring can be annoying! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

10. Persistent cough

A long-lasting cough that produces white or pink mucus could be a sign of heart failure. It usually happens when the heart cannot keep up with the body’s demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs.

Importance of health check-ups at regular intervals

Many heart disorders and associated risk factors can go unnoticed if routine heart checks and health tests are not performed. Your doctors can stay on top of your health and identify any health issues before they become more serious and take preventive measures. Regular heart checks will allow you to:

1. Early detection of illnesses or diseases reduces your risk of getting sick.
2. Get the correct treatment as soon as possible with the most recent medical information and innovative technologies and techniques.
3. Improve your overall health.
4. Create a timeline of your health.
5. Lower overall healthcare costs.

Routine heart checks and tests give you the best chance of receiving the appropriate therapy and diagnosing underlying medical concerns as soon as possible. By scheduling these check-ups regularly, you can be assured that you are on the right track to living a longer and healthier life.

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About the Author

Dr Shuvanan Ray, Director, Interventional Cardiology ...Read More

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