Your heart is one of the most important parts of your body. Keeping your heart healthy is the key to a long and happy life. With heart disease currently ranked as the leading cause of death in the United States, knowing how to detect early signs of cardiovascular health issues can go a long way toward keeping you around for the ones you love. CorSanitas
Did you know that in 2020, twice as many Americans died of heart disease as from COVID-19? This sobering statistic reminds us that it’s absolutely vital to know the early symptoms of cardiovascular disease so that we can do something about it before it’s too late.
Here are five warning signs of heart disease that can help save your life if detected early:
1. High Cholesterol
There’s a reason that heart disease is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer”- not all warning signs are visible. High levels of cholesterol, for example, can act as a ticking time bomb resulting in serious, painful heart conditions or even death. Be sure to get your cholesterol tested regularly as part of routine physical exams, and follow your doctor’s advice for eating a diet lower in cholesterol.
2. Family History of Heart Disease
If cardiovascular disease or heart attacks run in your family, the best thing you can do is be proactive. Getting tested for familial hypercholesterolemia is recommended in order to stop heart problems before they start.
3. Blocked Arteries
Atherosclerosis is the medical term for the blockage or narrowing of the arteries due to plaque build-up from too much cholesterol. Once referred to as “hardening of the arteries,” atherosclerosis significantly reduces blood flow to and from the heart, forcing it to work harder. One of the early signs of possible atherosclerosis is poor circulation that causes difficulty keeping hands and feet warm. If you feel you may be at risk of atherosclerosis, talk to your health care provider about a carotid artery blockage test.
The most common early warning sign of heart disease, angina can manifest in a variety of ways, including a heavy, squeezing feeling in the chest, deep pain that makes you catch your breath, or even pain in the shoulder, upper back, or jawline. Angina can recur for years without triggering any more serious signs of heart disease; however, it must not be ignored. See your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
5. Difficulty Breathing
If you find yourself struggling to catch your breath after climbing a flight of stairs or engaging in light physical activity, or experience bouts of dizziness, this may be an early warning sign of heart disease. While difficulty breathing can be a symptom of a number of health issues, it is often a precursor to cardiovascular disease and should be assessed by a doctor.
By keeping an eye on any potential signs of heart disease, you can act more quickly to prevent serious illness or death, leaving you to lead a long, healthy life with your loved ones.