The dangerous thing about heart problems is that they can really sneak up on you, and sometimes, by the time symptoms present themselves, it can be too late. Your heart starts to get weaker over time, and if you partake in unhealthy lifestyle choices you can speed up this process. Unfortunately, a heart attack or stroke can come without any warning, and that can play a large role in your recovery, depending on your overall health.
Instead of just sitting around waiting for a heart attack to creep up on you, it’s important to recognize the less obvious signs that your heart may be in trouble so that you can take the preventative necessary measures to ensure nothing more serious occurs to your heart.
Here are five signs you shouldn’t ignore as they reveal that your heart may not be as healthy as you think.
Chest pain or soreness
Of course, if you feel intense chest pains as if an elephant is sitting on your chest, that is a sure sign that you are experiencing a heart attack and 911 should be called. But even duller chest pains – as if you pulled a muscle – should raise concern as this can indicate underlying cardiovascular disease.
Any chest pain that spreads to the neck, jaw, arm, or shoulder should be looked at. Chest pain following a workout or stress shouldn’t be ignored either, as it could indicate blood circulation problem.
If you just climbed some stairs, you may experience shortness of breath – especially if you’re inactive. But performing light activity and experiencing shortness of breath, or lying down and having breathing difficulties, could signal a valve problem and should be brought to your doctor’s attention right away.
Nausea, fatigue, upset stomach, and feeling cold may seem like flu. But many women experience flu-like symptoms prior to a heart attack and shrug them off, thinking it’s a common cold. The flu in itself can be particularly harmful to seniors, especially those with other health conditions or weakened immune systems, so you should see a doctor in any event to rule out the flu, as it could be an indication of a heart problem instead.
Feeling lightheaded could indicate a blockage or valve-related issue, especially if you experience heart palpitations soon after. Furthermore, if you feel lightheaded after standing up, that could indicate heart troubles as well.
Fatigue or sleepiness
During the time leading up to heart attack, women in particular will feel exceptionally tired and sleepy. It’s also possible to experience sleep disturbances. So whether you are experiencing sleep problems, or getting adequate sleep but still feeling sleepy, speak to your doctor about these symptoms and have your heart checked.