The heart is the organ that keeps all the blood pumping around our body; it needs to be healthy and working properly in order for us to live a long life. Any health problems associated with the heart need to be dealt with immediately, and it is vital that you seek medical assistance if you think that you have a heart complaint of any type.
However, although it’s true that sometimes a heart attack or something more chronic such as heart disease will present itself as something you can recognize, in other cases these problems can, surprisingly, be much harder to spot. Here are some of the symptoms of heart problems that you might not think of, but that could cause you serious health complications if left unchecked.
Tightness in the chest, or perhaps a pinching feeling, may not be associated with heart problems. In many cases, difficult in drawing breath is going to be attributed to a lung complaint more than anything else, especially if you have been exercising beforehand. However, it could be something more serious than just being out of breath.
If the feeling lasts for longer than it would usually take for you to get your breath back, or it happens when you are at rest rather than doing something physical, you should get help and call an ambulance to get you to hospital. Just because you’re not feeling any pain it doesn’t mean that there isn’t something wrong with your heart; many people can suffer full heart attacks without being in pain, and this is particularly true of women.
Indigestion And Heartburn
For some people, heartburn and indigestion are symptoms of heart disease, or even a heart attack, rather than being because they ate something too quickly or that didn’t agree with them. Although most of the time this feeling really will be to do with your digestive system and not your heart, it is important to bear this information in mind, especially if you are prone to heart complaints or the feeling doesn’t go away when you take indigestion pills, for example.
Pain In Your Arm
Your chest might feel absolutely fine, but your arm (usually your left arm, especially for men, but it might be your right or even both) might be hurting badly with a pain that seems to radiate down the entire side of your body. This is a major sign that you could be having a heart attack. As we said earlier, the heart itself may not hurt you at all, but other areas of your body that are connected to it could suffer.
In some cases, it might not be pain at all, but a tingling sensation, or an electrical buzz.
Why the arm? It is all to do with your nervous system. When the heart is under attack, it sends off signals around the body for help. Those signals merge in the spinal cord and then head off in one direction together. The nearest place to get to is the arm or the shoulder. As the problem with your heart gets worse, the oxygen supply to those areas diminishes as well, making the pain and the problem worse.
Your arm isn’t the only area where the nerve signals could head to, although it is the most likely. Other areas include the jaw and the throat or neck, so pay attention to pain in these areas as well.
A little snoring when you sleep is nothing to be worried about, and most people do it from time to time if not all the time. Normal snoring is relatively quiet, and shouldn’t cause any problems. However, snoring that is related to your heart is a different matter entirely – this kind of snoring is very loud, and sounds like a gasp or even as though you might be choking. This is likely to be sleep apnea, and when you suffer from this it means you essentially stop breathing for a few seconds at various intervals during the night. When this happens, extra pressure is put on the heart, causing it to develop heart disease or even a full-blown heart attack.
Ironically, it could be that an underlying problem with your heart is the reason you are snoring so much in the first place, and then the continued sleep apnea issue makes that underlying problem worse. A doctor can check this for you, and it may be that you need to sleep wearing a CPAP machine which helps you to breathe more easily.
Erectile dysfunction – basically being unable to get or maintain an erection – is something that most men won’t be comfortable talking about. However, since it could be a symptom of something much worse (including depression and diabetes), it is essential that if you have this problem, you get it checked out as soon as possible.
When it comes to heart disease and heart failure, a problem with getting erections can be a big telltale sign. Remember that the heart pumps blood around the body, or at least it should be when it is working in a healthy way. In order to have an erection, a man needs a good blood flow to his penis. If the heart isn’t working as well as it should, that blood flow might not reach, or might only reach there intermittently. This means that an erection will be difficult, if not impossible. There are medications you can take if this is the problem for you, and you can learn more about them here.
If you notice that your ankles, feet, or even lower legs are swollen, you might be suffering from an undiagnosed heart complaint. Again, this is all to do with the blood not being pumped efficiently around your body. When it can’t be pumped quickly enough, the blood has to sit somewhere – it doesn’t just disappear. Therefore, it stays in the veins, backing up, and this causes swelling and bloating.
It might not just be blood that is causing the swelling, though. When your heart isn’t working well, your kidneys also have a difficult time, and they are less able to remove the waste water from your body. This can also sit in the extremities and causing bloating.