Knowing the signs of heart disease can help you understand how to save your own life as well as others, especially with heart disease causing more deaths in Americans than any other cause.

As discussed in the article Types of Heart Disease, cardiovascular issues can manifest themselves in many different ways depending on multiple factors and often show differently for men and women.

And while some signs can be hidden including high blood pressure, understanding what to look for can help you become proactive and take preventative measures with your health to avoid serious health problems.

Here are some signs of heart disease to be aware of for yourself and in loved ones.

Signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs):

-numbness and weakness in your extremities
-cold in extremities (hands, feet)
-sores on your toes, feet or legs that don’t heal
-no pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
-erectile dysfunction in men

Signs of Arrhythmia (Abnormal heart beat)

-racing heartbeat
-slow heartbeat
-shortness of breath
-feeling light headed
-fluttering in chest

Heart Attack Symptoms:

-Chest discomfort: this isn’t always pain. This could feel like a fullness, tightness, or pressure on the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes.

-Discomfort elsewhere: arm, neck, jaw, stomach
-shortness of breath
-nausea and vomiting
-other signs

Heart Failure:

-shortness of breath
-swelling (feet, ankles, abdomen, legs)

Coronary Heart Disease:

-Angina (heavy or dull discomfort in the chest)
-pain in neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen

High Blood Pressure:

Note: High blood pressure often yields no signs or symptoms until it is severe enough to result in heart disease or a heart attack.

It’s best to begin checking your blood pressure regularly with either a personal blood pressure monitor or regular doctor’s visits to ensure your blood pressure is managed in a safe way.

-high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease
-high blood pressure can lead to heart attack

Cardiomyopathy (enlarged, thickened and stiffened of heart muscle)

-abdominal bloating
-breathlessness (at rest or during physical activity)
-irregular heartbeat
-chest pain

If you notice any of the signs of heart disease, it’s important to visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early detection can help prevent more serious health concerns. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s a good idea to get a physical health examination if:

– You’re Over the Age of 70
– You’re Over the Age of 50 and have history of diabetes or smoking
– You’re Under the Age of 50 but have diabetes or other risk factors such as obesity or high blood pressure.

If you have any questions or concerns about heart disease for yourself or a loved one, be sure to call your doctor. It’s important to understand the signs of heart disease, and if you have questions, your doctor can help you better understand how you can take preventative action, get the right treatment and improve the health of your heart.