Don’t Miss the Early Signs of Heart DiseaseThere is a common misconception that minor pain or pain in various parts of the body does not indicate a heart problem. Some people are surprised to discover that not all heart attacks involve massive pain or a collapse that results in the need for an ambulance. In fact, some indicators are so insignificant that people overlook or dismiss them. If you have any of the symptoms below, you should see your doctor and ask him if they could be early signs of heart disease.
AnginaThis painful condition is sometimes the precursor to cardiac arrest, although it can also recur for years without triggering any more serious signs. Angina is the most common early warning of cardiovascular disease and can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including a feeling of heaviness in the chest, pain, a squeezing sensation, weight on the chest or a deep pain that causes you to catch your breath. Many people mistake angina for heartburn or indigestion, particularly since the pain is sometimes felt in other areas of the body, including pain in the shoulder, the middle or upper region of the back or even the jaw line.
AtherosclerosisThis is the narrowing or blocking of the major arteries due to the build-up of plaque from too much cholesterol. Years ago, it was referred to as hardening of the arteries. As the arteries become clogged, blood flow to and from the heart is restricted, forcing the heart to work harder. Most people first notice poor circulation that leads to difficulty keeping their hands and feet warm.
More Early Signs of Heart DiseaseThere are other indications of heart disease that may come and go for months or even years without an individual connecting them with any sort of serious problem such as cardiovascular illness. Among these are dizziness, shortness of breath after exertion or exercise, sweating, a rapid pulse and heart palpitations. Many people dismiss these signs if they are under fifty years of age, particularly if the symptoms come and go.
A Family History of Early Heart Disease or Heart AttacksIf there are other close relatives in your family who are contending with heart disease in any form, it could be a sign of genetic familial hypercholesterolemia. If a parent, sibling or child has been coping with cardiovascular health problems, they and the rest of the family should be tested for FH.
The Silent Signs of Heart DiseaseFor some people, the early signs of heart disease aren’t felt or heard, but are discovered as the result of testing of some kind. High cholesterol is one such symptom that can eventually lead to more serious, painful conditions after years of being a silent time bomb. Many health care organizations now recommend that if any man younger than 55 or any woman younger than 65 is diagnosed with heart disease, their immediate family members should be tested for high cholesterol and familial hypercholesterolemia because of the risk associated with a family history of heart disease..
Talk to your doctor if you or a member of your family shows any signs of early heart disease. Don’t disregard signs of early heart disease in women, no matter how unlikely they seem. Early detection and treatment can keep small health concerns from turning into major health issues. For additional support and resources, Become a Member of the FH Foundation.