Many people are aware of the classic signs of a heart attack, but they are not as familiar with the symptoms of heart disease, often described as the silent killer. For anyone with a family history of heart disease, it pays to understand some of the less obvious indicators of the illness.
1. Horizontal Breathing
Can you breathe when lying on your back, or is it a struggle? If it is challenging, does your breathing improve when you sit up?
Struggling to breathe when lying flat can suggest fluid in the lungs, which is an indicator of heart failure. Essentially, trouble breathing results from blood redistribution. When the body is flat, the heart struggles to pump the extra blood volume, leading to increased fluid in the lungs and shortness of breath.
If you experience this symptom, contact your doctor immediately. The condition is known as orthopnea and requires medical attention.
2. Leg or Hip Pain
While leg and hip pain can stem from arthritis or physical fitness issues, it can also result from circulation issues, originating from peripheral artery disease. Blockages in the leg arteries cause pain in the legs. While blockages in the legs do not mean definitive clogged arteries in the heart, it is likely there are cardiac blockages.
3. Swollen Ankles
If the heart isn't pumping efficiently, fluid can build up in the legs causing swelling in the ankles. According to one study, adults with symptoms of fluid in the lower extremities, even with no history of heart disease, experienced future heart failure incidences.
Medical experts explain that swelling in both legs usually indicates a symptom of heart failure. Swelling in one leg can indicate a blood clot or infection. If you experience swelling and shortness of breath, contact your docto
Heart disease can cause extreme fatigue. If you experience tiredness when doing everyday activities, you might have an obstructed coronary artery. Women often cite chronic fatigue as the first symptom of heart disease. Fatigue can also stem from low blood flow. Call your doctor if you seem unusually tired, especially during routine activities.
5. Bad Breath
The mouth contains bacteria, but if the bacteria get out of control, they can cause bad breath. Chronic bad breath is a sign that the bacteria might be at a point where it can affect your overall health because it enters your bloodstream, which can affect your heart health.
6. Nighttime Urination
While nighttime urination usually increases with age, it can be a sign of heart issues. When your heart is weak, it can struggle to pump blood to the kidneys, resulting in fluid buildup in other areas of the body. At night, because you are lying down, gravity contributes to more fluid to the heart, causing the need for more fluid filtration and creating a need to urinate.
The above symptoms are not the only symptoms of heart disease. If you have a history of heart disease or have experienced any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor.