You may not be aware that you have a serious heart problem. The following are subtle cardiovascular problems to look out for.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., with one person dying every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease. What’s more alarming is that you may be showing signs of cardiovascular problems and not even realize it.
“While more than one-half of people present with chest discomfort when they are having a heart attack, up to one-third of patients – especially women – don’t have any chest symptoms at all. They may present with more atypical or subtle symptoms,” says Mariko Harper, a physician in Seattle who specializes in cardiovascular disease, nuclear cardiology, and echocardiography.
If you ignore these signs, you’re basically ignoring your overall wellness and health. To help you know what signs to be aware of, here are subtle cardiovascular problems to look out for.
Swelling in the Lower Extremities
“If your heart loses its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body – either through weakened cardiac muscles or damage to heart tissue from a silent heart attack – blood flow can slow down and get backed up in the legs leading to swelling,” says Christine Bishara, founder of the integrative medical practice From Within Medical in New York.
Shortness of Breath
According to Bishara, people with diabetes may experience trouble breathing instead of common chest pains. “Because diabetes affects and blunts nerve sensations, [someone who is diabetic] with a serious heart condition may never experience symptoms of chest pain,” she says. “This is why shortness of breath should never be ignored – especially if it’s a new onset.”
Feeling tired is normal, but if it’s chronic or out of nowhere, it may be a sign of heart issues. “If fatigue symptoms are an acute onset or without any identifiable underlying cause, consult with your doctor,” says Bishara.
Upper Back, Left Shoulder, or Arm Pain
According to Bishara, unexplained pains in these areas “should not be ignored, as they also may be signs of a heart blockage or impending heart attack. Back symptoms are frequent in women and may sometimes be the only symptom.”
“The nerves that innervate your heart and pick up the sensation of pain are the same nerves that pick up the same sensation for orthopedic issues, gastrointestinal issues, and dental issues; it’s the same distribution of nerves,” says Marcus Smith, a physician at CardioVascular Health Clinic in Oklahoma. “People who have heart issues many times will say they felt pain in their jaw. That’s why no symptoms should be pushed to the side because it could represent a cardiac symptom.”
Taking Care of Your Heart
Managing your heart health means knowing the various signs of heart disease – even the subtle ones. By knowing what they are and not ignoring them, you can prevent your heart condition from worsening.
If you want to take active steps to boost your heart health, then start exercising regularly, eating healthily, and taking supplements like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more. Give your heart the support it deserves by practicing healthy habits and taking L-arginine Plus.