If something went wrong with your heart, would you know it? Consider watching out for the following problems.
It’s the most common sign of heart danger. If you have a blocked artery or are having a heart attack, you may feel pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest. Everyone is different and experiences different sensations, but chest discomfort is always a sign that something is wrong. The feeling usually lasts longer than a few minutes. It may happen when you’re at rest or when you’re doing something physical.
Nausea, Indigestion, Heartburn, or Stomach Pain
Some people have these symptoms during a heart attack. They may occasionally vomit. Women are more likely to report this type of symptom than men are. Of course, you can have an upset stomach for many reasons that have nothing to do with your heart. It could just be something you ate, after all. But you need to be aware that it can also happen during a heart attack. If you feel this way and you’re at risk for heart problems, let a doctor find out what’s going on, especially if you also have any of the other symptoms on this list.
Pain that Spreads to the Arm
Another classic heart attack symptom is pain that radiates down the left side of the body. It sometimes starts at the chest and moves outward.
You Feel Dizzy or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didn’t have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.
But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
Throat or Jaw Pain
By itself, throat or jaw pain probably isn’t heart related. More likely, it’s caused by a muscular issue, a cold, or a sinus problem. But if you have pain or pressure in the center of your chest that spreads up into your throat or jaw, it could be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 and seek medical attention to make sure everything is alright.
You Get Exhausted Easily
If you suddenly feel fatigued or winded after doing something you had no problem doing in the past (like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car) make an appointment with your doctor right away. Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of a heart attack, especially for women.
It’s normal to snore a little while you snooze. But unusually loud snoring that sounds like a gasping or choking can be a sign of sleep apnea. That’s when you stop breathing for brief moments several times at night while you are still sleeping. This puts extra stress on your heart. Your doctor can check whether you need a sleep study to see if you have this condition. If you do, you may need a CPAP machine to smooth out your breathing while you sleep.
Breaking out in a cold sweat for no obvious reason could signal a heart attack. If this happens along with any of these other symptoms, call 911 to get to a hospital right away. Don’t try to drive yourself.
It’s normal for your heart to race when you are nervous or excited or to skip or add a beat once in awhile. But, if you feel like your heart is beating out of time for more than just a few seconds, or if it happens often, tell your doctor. Most cases it’s nothing but occasionally, it could signal a condition called atrial fibrillation that needs treatment. So ask your doctor to check it out.
Questions about these symptoms or your heart health? Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re not at risk.