In the last 26 years, India has seen a 34 percent increase in deaths due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). In fact, more than 28 percent of all deaths in India can be attributed solely to heart attacks. Such statistics make it necessary for one to understand CVD, the risk factors involved and the warning signs.
CVD comprises problematic heart conditions including damaged or diseased vessels, blood clots and structural problems. Examples of CVD include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, strokes, etc. The risk factors include obesity, being over 60 years, smoking, drinking alcohol, family history of CVD, sedentary lifestyle, and stress. The more risk factors an individual has, the more careful they should be with their health.
It is not necessary that an individual having a heart attack would feel racing pain in their chest and will collapse suddenly. Some heart attacks are mild and have symptoms that are not even in or around the heart area. Furthermore, men and women may experience different symptoms altogether. Take a look at the warning signs of heart attacks and failing heart health presented here to get a clearer picture.
When the heart does not get enough oxygen, it manifests as chest pain. Men and women experience this pain differently. While men feel as if an elephant is sitting on their chest, women feel as if their heart is being squeezed.
Cold or hot flushes
Sudden cold or hot flushes, a clammy skin and one or two of the other symptoms means that one needs to get to the doctor immediately.
Exhaustion or shortness of breath
A sudden onset of a spell of exhaustion, weakness or shortness of breath may mean that one is having a heart attack. This is especially seen in women.
Pain in back, neck or arms
Most men experience the classic symptom of shooting pain in the left arm when they have a heart attack, but for women, pain the upper back, neck, jaw, lower abdomen or chest, or arms is more common.
Confusion or disorientation is an important indicator of CVD. This means that the brain is not receiving enough blood to be able to function properly. This also means that the chemistry of the blood is changing and certain values may be well out of the safe range.
Swelling in legs, feet and ankle
A weak heart is unable to work hard enough to fully rotate the blood throughout the body. Add to that the pull of gravity and one would notice that the blood has pooled in the legs, swelling them. The changing concentrations of salt also balk the kidneys making you feel bloated.
Skipped heart beats
Though an odd skipped heart beat is normal, it is not natural to have several skipped heart beats in a row. Skipped heart beats may cause anxiety that one may feel in their neck.
Weak digestion, nausea and vomiting
When the stomach does not receive enough blood to complete the digestion process properly, it means that the heart is having trouble working. Elderlies usually have this problem, but if one notices this in combination with some other warning signs, then they should visit the doctor immediately.
An unexplained cough that has lasted some days may signal heart trouble. A diseased or weak heart would allow fluids to accumulate in the lungs. The lungs, in an attempt to clear themselves out, trigger a cough. So, if one has any of the risk factors and has had a lasting cough that brings up pink or white mucus, then it’s time to visit a doctor.