If You Feel These Symptoms, Have Your Heart Checked
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease and over 18 million Americans aged 20 or older have a coronary artery disease (CAD). "The heart is a vital organ required for transport of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and body systems. More than half a million Americans die due to heart disease every year. Yet, many do not know symptoms of heart disease and timing is key in detecting symptoms so that people can rush to get emergency care," Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University tells Eat This, Not That! Health. Knowing heart disease signs to look out for could be a matter of life and death. Read below to learn about the symptoms to be aware of according to Dr. Khubchandani and read on to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Heart Health Checks
Most people don't get their heart checked until they notice a problem, but the American Heart Association states heart screenings should start at 20-years-old. Below is a chart of what should be checked and how often according to AHA.
Dr. Khubchandani explains, "Pain should be a warning sign when it occurs in specific parts of the body (e.g. chest pain or pain that radiates to arms, shoulder, neck, jaw, throat). Chest pain that feels like heaviness or pressure in the chest and pain spreading around is a serious warning sign for a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists additional signs and symptoms for heart attacks.
"Abnormal or copious amounts of sweating with cold skin and other symptoms such as feeling light headed, suffocated, or weakness even while resting or without exercising are signs of heart disease," says Dr. Khubchandani. "Such symptoms and signs may need emergency care as these body signs could indicate an ongoing or impending heart attack. When our blood vessels are blocked, the heart has to make extra effort to pump blood in the blood vessels causing the sweating (one of the mechanisms of sweating during a heart attack). The American Heart Association lists these as key signs."
Dr. Khubchandani states, "One such chronic problem visible on the body and skin around legs, arms, face, and ankles is edema. In edema, the blood that filters out of the vascular system does not get back into the vascular system and the fluid is trapped in body tissues. In chronic and congestive heart failure, the heart does not pump blood adequately and filtered blood that becomes fluid gets collected in skin and tissues causing the swelling. This is a serious problem as it can eventually lead to fluid accumulation in organs such as lungs and abdomen if the accumulation is rapid. Heart failure needs regular treatment and therapies along with careful monitoring of body systems and lifestyle."
Change in Skin Color/Abnormal Growths
According to Dr. Khubchandani, "Other subtle signs associated with serious heart diseases or related to increased risk of heart diseases and problems with the vascular system also manifest in skin. These could range from change in skin color (e.g. brown, yellow, red, purple, etc) to abnormal growths in skin. Sometimes, there could be rashes or lumps as well. The American Academy of Dermatology Association lists some of these problems that should trigger the seeking of medical or emergency care in individuals who notice such problems (e.g. blocked arteries, heart failure, infections of heart tissue, high cholesterol or blood pressure)."