Heart disease is the leading cause of death in India but sadly there are still millions of people who don’t realize the symptoms of one! We use the term ‘heart disease’ for any problem related to the heart and it does not refer to only heart attack. Our heart contains four major parts and the term could refer to problems existing in any one of them!
Atherosclerosis or blockage in arteries is the most common reason for a heart disease apart from other reasons such as leaky or tight valves, electric system that makes the heart beat too fast, slow or have extra beats. Heart muscle (myocardium) and pericardium (heart lining) can sometimes become too thick, thin or inflamed and affect the heart.
One thing is that heart disease does not strike like thunder or lightening as portrayed in movies or television and practically, there are people who don’t even notice their heart disease symptoms until they are struck by a heart attack or stroke. Listed here are some symptoms that are generally ignored by most people which can lead to complicated problems:
Climbing a flight of stairs or walking fast can make you short of breath and is an indication that you need to improve on your workout or pop in your allergy meds. Some other times, it is an indication of a heart disease as the heart fights vigorously to supply oxygen to all parts of your body.
As the heart disease aggravates, breathing problems can go to the extent that even lying down flat in the bed becomes difficult as this position restricts even the most limited air flow that the body gets. When you try medications or other measures that don’t solve your breathlessness problem, it is high time that you go for a second opinion.
Pain or discomfort in the chest is yet another important indication that the heart is not supplied with enough oxygen and this is termed as angina. Some individuals feel intense pressure or squeezing sensation on top of the chest, an indigestion-like feeling. When you have no proper explanation for such pain it is recommended that you go straight to the doctor.
All over body pain
Some women don’t feel pain in their chest but everywhere else in the body-abdomen, jaws or even neck. This is something that many women easily ignore as it is negligible compared to their periods pain. But, when you don’t expect such a pain on a normal day and when this pain is disturbing your normal activities making them more challenging, you need to fix an appointment with the doctor immediately.
Numbness in arms and legs
Apart from pain, some people experience numbness and weakness in the arms or legs as a result of decreased blood flow to the extremities. This can affect nerves too and you might end up with nerve damage. Anything you feel/don’t feel in your arms and legs is related to nerve health. If you cannot establish a solid link to this numbness or pain, it is critical that you meet your physician.
Flutter like butterfly
Sometimes, you can feel your heart beating very fast or irregularly. This is heart palpitation or arrhythmia. Such heart flutter indicates problems with the heart valve or electric system. Such heart palpitations always don’t point to the prevalence of a heart disease. People often tell that they feel such palpitations right before sleeping which settles down in sometime. This might be due to too much caffeine, wine, dehydration or even stress. Stress is a simple term that can hit you badly and spoil your good health. Read more on stress and ways to handle it effectively at www.firsteatright.com. When such palpitations remain for more than few minutes or occur along with other symptoms of heart disease, it is better to meet your physician immediately.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.