Living Heart Healthy, Part 1: Know the Signs of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women, causing one in four deaths. During American Heart Month, there are many things you can do to stop heart disease from affecting yourself and those you love. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the disease and its symptoms.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a general term referring to several conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. These conditions can lead to chest pain, heart attack or stroke. The term “cardiovascular disease” is often used interchangeably with “heart disease.”
In order to function, the heart muscle requires an adequate supply of blood. If one or more of the coronary arteries narrows, the heart becomes stressed and begins to fail. When the blood supply is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack, and the heart muscle begins to die.
Warning Signs of Heart Disease
Because damage to the heart muscle is irreversible, it’s essential to know the warning signs of heart failure. As a stressed heart struggles to move blood through the body, a person may experience several distinct symptoms. If you experience more than one of the following symptoms, report them to a healthcare professional immediately and ask for a heart screening.
- Shortness of breath while active or at rest
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Increased swelling in the lower body (feet, legs and ankles)
- Abdominal swelling or weight gain
- Fatigue and lightheadedness with everyday activities
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Unexplained dizziness, confusion or sadness
- Increased heart rate or racing heart
Get Screened at RediClinic
Heart disease is largely preventable, making awareness of risk factors and signs crucial to protect your heart. In Part 2 of our “Living Heart Healthy” series, we discuss the relationship between important health numbers and the heart.
If you are concerned about your heart health, visit with a board-certified clinician at your nearest RediClinic. We offer diabetes testing and comprehensive health screening to evaluate your heart disease risk and what you can do to maintain heart health.
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