At the international European Society of Cardiology meetings last week, a new study revealed that many “sudden” heart related events were actually not so sudden. You can find this story as well as my comment under “Reader Picks” in the New York Times . Listed below are 5 signs/symptoms that are important to recognize as they might indicate that your heart is in trouble.
- Chest discomfort: Discomfort in the chest area that feels like “tightness”, “pressure”, “heaviness”, etc, occurs with activities such as that walking up a hill or emotional stress should be promptly evaluated as these symptoms may indicate a blockage in a heart (coronary) artery.
- Shortness of Breath: Activities that cause you to become short of breath or easily winded when that was not the case days or weeks earlier, also raises the possibility that you may have a heart-related problem.
- Excessive Fatigue: If you become overly tired while conducting your daily activities, that might indicate weakness of heart function that should be checked out.
- Radiation to the neck, jaw and down the left arm: Sometimes the only symptom is discomfort that travels up to the neck, jaw or down the inner portion of the left arm. If this occurs with activity or stress (with or without chest discomfort) , you need immediate evaluation.
- Discomfort just below the chest. On occasion, discomfort occurs below the chest or in the upper central part of the abdomen (epigastric region). When these symptoms occur with activity or stress, they may also indicate blockage in a heart artery and requires swift attention.
Michael Miller, MD is Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland USA. His latest book is “Heal Your Heart“ published by Penguin Random House.