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Sure Signs Your Heart Isn't As Strong as it Should Be

Staying on top of your heart health is vital.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The importance of heart health is clear–heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women and taking care of your ticker will help ensure a longer healthier life. Diet and exercise are vital for a healthy heart, but so is knowing the signs of when your heart is in trouble. "Like any muscle in our bodies, our heart muscle can weaken over time if it isn't taken care of properly. And, just like with other muscles, when our heart muscle weakens, it isn't able to function as well as it should. This can lead to several serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and even heart failure," Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies tells us.Read on to learn about the signs that indicate your heart isn't as strong as it should be and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why is Heart Disease the Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.?

Dr. Mitchell says, "Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for about one in four deaths yearly. While there are many different types of heart disease, they all involve the deterioration of the heart muscle or the blood vessels that supply it. This can lead to various problems, including heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmias. In many cases, heart disease is caused by a combination of genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors. For example, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure are all significant risk factors for heart disease. However, even people who live healthy lifestyles can be affected by heart disease if they have a family history of the condition. As our population ages, the incidence of heart disease is likely to continue to rise. That's why it's essential to learn about the risks and how to prevent them. By understanding the causes of heart disease, we can take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this deadly condition."


How Do You Know If Your Heart is Strong?

doctor holding heart

Dr. Mitchell explains, "There are a few key factors that determine the strength of your heart. The first is the heart muscle itself. A strong heart muscle can pump more blood with each beat and maintain a regular rhythm for a more extended time. The second factor is the valves in your heart. These need to function correctly to prevent leaks and ensure that blood flows in the correct direction. The third factor is the arteries that carry blood to and from your heart. These must be clear of blockages so blood can flow freely. If you have any concerns about the strength of your heart, it is essential to speak to your doctor so they can perform tests and give you an accurate assessment."


How to Get a Strong Heart?

woman jogging on bridge

"There are many things people can do to improve their heart health," says Dr. Mitchell. "For example, some risk factors for heart disease, such as family history and age, cannot be changed. However, many lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.  One of the best things people can do for their hearts is to exercise regularly. Exercise helps to strengthen the heart muscle and make it more efficient at pumping blood. It also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease. In addition, exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, which is important because obesity is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

People can also improve their heart health by eating a healthy diet. For example, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and maintain a healthy weight. In addition, limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats in the diet is essential, as these can lead to heart disease. Finally, it is important to avoid tobacco products, as smoking significantly increases the risk of developing heart disease." 


You Experience Shortness of Breath Regularly

Businesswoman coughing while having coffee break in the office.

Dr. Mitchell shares, "Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is a symptom that can occur with various medical conditions. However, it is also a common sign of heart disease. There are several reasons why heart disease can cause shortness of breath. First, the heart may not pump blood as efficiently as it should, leading to lung congestion. Heart disease can also cause fluid to build up in the lungs, making breathing difficult. Finally, an irregular heartbeat can cause shortness of breath by preventing the lungs from filling with air correctly. If you experience shortness of breath regularly, it is essential to see a doctor so that any underlying medical conditions can be ruled out."


You Frequently Feel Tired or Fatigued


"You frequently feel fatigued is a sign of heart disease," Dr. Mitchell explains. "It can also be a symptom of anemia, diabetes, sleep apnea, congestive heart failure, and depression when your heart isn't pumping as efficiently as it should, less blood and oxygen circulation throughout your body. This can leave you feeling exhausted and run down. If you're frequently experiencing fatigue, it's essential to see your doctor for a complete evaluation. They can help to determine the underlying cause of your fatigue and recommend treatment options. You can start feeling better with proper diagnosis and treatment and return to your normal activity level."


You Have a History of Heart Disease in Your Family

woman holding heart

Dr. Mitchell states, "If you have a history of heart disease in your family, you must be aware of the potential for developing the condition yourself. While having a family member with heart disease may not directly cause the condition, it is a strong risk factor. This is because specific genes can be passed down from generation to generation, increasing the likelihood that heart disease will develop. In addition, lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity can also contribute to the development of heart disease. For example, if you have a family history of heart disease, you must talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. This may include making lifestyle changes and taking medication to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure. You can help prevent heart disease from affecting your health by taking steps to reduce your risk.

If you notice any of these signs, it's essential to see a doctor for a check-up. They can help to determine if there is an underlying problem and offer treatment options to improve your heart health."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather