As we age, we begin to question our health and how to spot common ailments to ward off a serious disease. One of the most common concerns is heart health. We all know someone who had a heart attack that might not fit the “typical” profile. They might be young and in great health, so to hear of them having a heart attack is scary. If it can happen to them, then surely it can happen to us, right?
We get a daily bombardment of advertising, infomercials and more, all telling us about healthy living and protecting our heart. They tell us that we should get more exercise, eat more greens and less junk, drink less, don’t smoke and reduce our stress levels. We’ve heard it all before. And while it sounds good in theory, we often let the warnings fall by the wayside.
We’ve all seen the ‘movie’ version, or the ‘classic’ heart attack: a person gets a pain in their chest and their left arm, then they begin to sweat and call out for help or “my pills”. This mental image can be deceiving as it might imply to many people that it’s all there is to it when it’s not the case. There are signs that we should be paying attention to in order to spot a heart attack before it happens.
Here are five ways to spot a heart attack before it happens:
1. We aren’t taking care of ourselves the way we should.
Let’s face it, we can do better. We can eat better, we can exercise more, and we can sleep longer. Not taking care of ourselves is just asking for trouble. Of course, this is a very vague warning sign, but one that should be heeded. Consider being overweight and out of shape a warning sign for future health problems.
2. Unexplained Fatigue.
When fatigue comes upon for no apparent reason, or you become excessively tired in the course of daily activities, you should be concerned. Something is going on with your body, and you need to find out what it is. It is more common for this to affect women than men, but men should not ignore such warnings either. If the fatigue is heart-related, it’s caused by an increase in the stress placed on the heart. This stress causes an inefficiency in the heart’s overall function and, therefore, leads to symptoms elsewhere in the body – sometimes odd symptoms that, taken on their own, may seem to add up to nothing.
3. Shortness of breath.
Like fatigue, the increased stress on the heart causes inefficiency and leads to seemingly unrelated symptoms, like shortness of breath. If the heart is unable to supply the body with as much blood as it needs to function normally, it follows that the cells of the body are also not receiving sufficient oxygen that would have been carried in the blood.
4. Nausea, Vomiting or Indigestion.
You have probably heard that there are people who mistake indigestion for a heart attack; and also that there are people who mistake a heart attack for indigestion. How can you determine the difference? ??Be familiar with your family history.
In many cases, the majority of the foods we eat do not lead to indigestion, and the majority of people do not typically suffer from indigestion, having no history of it. Most of us are well aware of the foods that are likely to bring on indigestion or heartburn in us and usually avoid them. ??That means that sudden, unexpected indigestion may be a warning sign of something more serious. This is particularly true if the indigestion is in combination with any of the other symptoms mentioned.
5. A rapid or irregular heartbeat.
If your heart’s ability to function is impaired, it will naturally try to work harder to make up for the shortfall.
This increased effort shows itself in the form of an irregular or a rapid heartbeat.
There are many causes of a rapid heartbeat including exertion from sports and physical activities, stress, and anxiety. In most cases, though, the heartbeat returns to normal once the person relaxes.
When your heart rate doesn’t return to normal when at rest, it can be a sign your heart may not be functioning properly, and you should seek help immediately.
Sometimes, we’re afraid to ask for help. We don’t want to be a bother or an inconvenience. Take preemptive measures and get into shape. Our health is too precious to risk.
Take note of the warning signs and pay attention to your general health and well-being. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, seek medical attention. You may just be told it’s nothing – but you’ll never regret finding out. Imagine the alternative!