AHA research released recently estimates that 121 million Americans, or nearly half of the adult population, suffer from a heart condition of some kind. Furthermore, about 25 million adults in the United States are coping with heart failure, clogged arteries, or stroke, among other symptoms of the illness.
Not to mention the fact that about 610,000 of them die each year from some sort of heart-related condition, according to the CDC. This means that about one in four deaths is caused by some form of cardiovascular disease. Just because heart disease is so common these days, it does not mean that there are not certain things you can do to protect yourself from it. In fact, making yourself aware of the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease can help you act fast and prevent further complications.
The symptoms of cardiovascular disease, particularly hypertension (elevated blood pressure), is going uncontrolled in the U.S. As a matter of fact, about one in every three adults are suffering from prehypertension, the initial phase of hypertension. Heart diseases are the major cause of death in the U.S, responsible for more than 1,000 deaths every day.
Why is cardiovascular disease so deadly?
One reason that cardiovascular disease can be so deadly is that often people do not recognize in time the signs and symptoms that something is wrong. For one thing, most symptoms of cardiovascular disease are not always obvious or intense, and they vary between individuals.
Because it can be difficult to determine the symptoms of a cardiovascular problem, make sure to pay attention to the following warning signs and seek your medical practitioner’s help if they repeat or do not go away after several hours or a few days.
1. Dizziness and shortness of breath
If you often feel out of breath by just walking across the living room or even when you are doing something as simple as bending over to tie your shoes, it may indicate that a heart attack is about to happen. Heart attacks don’t always cause chest pain, but rather can simply be accompanied by a feeling of being winded by the smallest movement or no movement at all. Dizziness could be an indication of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or even something more dangerous such as heart failure, meaning the heart is incapable to push the blood efficiently in the brain.
2. Any chest discomfort
Chest discomfort or angina is the most common symptom and also an early sign of cardiovascular disease. It usually feels like a continuous striking pain or steady pressure, which usually caused by plaque buildup on the arterial walls or experiencing a heart attack. Usually, the pain can last for a few minutes. If the pain lasts for only a few seconds, the pain is probably caused by a muscle spasm or something similar. But, to make sure that everything is as it should be, consult with your healthcare provider.
3. Unexpected cold sweats
In situations when you acquired some thrilling news or completed some extremely difficult task, experiencing cold sweats can be completely normal. However, experiencing cold sweats often and for no obvious reason could indicate that a heart attack could be about to happen or is already underway. If you experience this in combination with other symptoms, pay a visit to your healthcare practitioner right away.
4. Heart palpitations (Irregular heartbeats)
Palpitations are defined as situations where the heart beats rapidly or irregularly. When you’re drinking coffee (caffeine), experiencing anxiety, or when you’re dehydrated, an additional or missed heartbeat occasionally is completely normal. However, frequently experiencing heart palpitations can indicate that you may have problems with your heart, therefore make sure to seek advice from your doctor. This occurs when the arteries become clogged and the heart can’t transfer blood to the rest of the body properly; therefore, the heart will try to compensate by beating faster.
5. Coughing that lasts long
While coughing is prevalent, especially during the winter, a long-lasting cough that carries on without going away and for no obvious reason can be an indication of a heart problem. According to the American Heart Association, if you are also experiencing some of the other signs and symptoms, then your cough could be an indication that you are dealing with heart failure. Moreover, coughing that continues for longer periods accompanied by pink or white mucus may indicate that blood is present into your lungs and your heart can’t satisfy your needs. This could also be an indication of heart disease. Just to be safe, consult with your healthcare practitioner to investigate the origin of your long-lasting cough.
6. Swelling in the legs
Valvular heart disease is a condition that affects valves of the heart chambers and impairs the blood flow through the body. If left untreated, this can affect other parts of the body and cause severe discomfort. Swelling in the lower legs also may indicate that your heart is having trouble pumping blood efficiently. This causes blood to stay in your lower legs, making them swollen and bloated. Also, swelling occurs when this impaired blood flow makes it more difficult for the kidneys to get rid of extra sodium and water from your body.
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