Posted by Expert Tips, Heart | Posted on 09-23-2011| Posted in
We’re all familiar with the typical signs of heart disease – pain, tightness or pressure in the chest.
But there are other signs that may point to heart disease that are easy to overlook. If you experience any of them, you may want to talk to your family doctor. While it may be routine and unrelated to your heart, it doesn’t hurt to have it checked out.
1. Neck, jaw or shoulder pain
You might think it’s nothing more than a pulled muscle, but pain in these areas could also mean you’re experiencing symptoms of heart disease.
If the pain comes on with activity and goes away with rest, talk to your doctor about it, advises Paula Harwood, a registered nurse and prevention and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation manager at Memorial Medical Center. It could be routine or it could be a sign of heart disease.
However, if it’s a pain that develops suddenly, doesn’t get better or worse with movement and doesn’t go away after 10 or 15 minutes, call an ambulance or have someone drive you to the Emergency Department. You may be having a heart attack.
Other symptoms may accompany that pain, such as nausea or shortness of breath.
2. Crushing fatigue
If you feel tired all the time – particularly if you’ve been a fairly active person – and find it harder to do everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or grocery shopping, you may be experiencing symptoms of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
Because the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, blood is diverted away from less vital organs, such as the muscles in your legs or arms, to keep a fresh supply going to the heart and brain.
A call to your doctor is in order if you feel unusually exhausted.
3. Nausea or indigestion
If you’ve had generous helpings of extra spicy five-alarm chili, indigestion is to be expected. But, while many of us associate heart disease with a pain in the chest, it can be a sensation similar to overeating for some, especially people older than 60 and women.
Be familiar with your own digestive habits. Take notice when something’s out of the ordinary. Most cases of stomach flu and indigestion aren’t caused by heart disease, but a phone call to your doctor may be in order if symptoms of nausea hit quickly and you’ve not eaten anything unusual, Harwood says.
Other signs that may suggest heart disease include swelling in your legs, dizziness or shortness of breath and sexual dysfunction.