Cardiac disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, more than any type of cancer or chronic disease. According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), around 17.3 million people died in 2008 worldwide as a consequence of cardiovascular disease. That figure is estimated to increase to 23 million per year by 2030.
Why does cardiac disease cause so many deaths? Many heart problems are the result of poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, environmental pollution or tobacco use, among others. However, one of the reasons this health problem causes so many deaths worldwide is because people ignore the warning signs and symptoms and take too long to seek professional help to prevent the worst of all consequences. The majority of symptoms of cardiac problems are not severe and can be confused with symptoms of other diseases.
Learning to recognize the symptoms of cardiac diseases can save lives. So staying informed is one step towards prevention. Below, we’ll share 10 warning signs of cardiac disease that you shouldn’t ignore.
Dizziness and difficulty in breathing
Dizziness and difficulty in breathing are signs that can indicate a heart attack. These types of symptoms can lead to the loss of consciousness and indicate heart abnormalities, like arrhythmia.
This symptom especially affects women and can occur during a heart attack or days, hours and even weeks before. Often feeling fatigued can be a sign of some sort of cardiac deficiency.
Of course, this symptom can also be a sign of another disease or health disorder. It’s best to consult your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis.
Nausea or lack of appetite
Many people experience nausea and vomiting while suffering from a heart attack. In addition, a symptom like abdominal bloating associated with cardiac insufficiency can interfere with appetite.
Chest pain is a classic symptom of heart attacks, but not in all cases. Jean C. McSweeney, researcher at the University of Arkansas School of Medical Science and Disease said that this is the first symptom people look for, however, it doesn’t appear in every case. McSweeney stated that this pain feels like “an elephant sitting on your chest” but can also manifest as an uncomfortable feeling of pressure or fullness.
Pain in different parts of the body
Chest pain is the most common pain reported during heart attacks. However, this pain can extend into the arms, elbows, spine, neck, jaw or abdomen. In fact, in some cases, the pain doesn’t manifest in the chest, but other areas of the body.
An occasional change in a pulse is considered normal. However, when the irregularity is accompanied by weakness, dizziness, or difficulty breathing it can be a sign of a heart attack, cardiac insufficiency or arrhythmia.
Short of breath
Losing your breath without exerting much effort, or while resting, can be a sign of pulmonary diseases like asthma or chronic pulmonary obstruction. Likewise, it can also signal a heart attack or cardiac insufficiency. During a heart attack, difficulty breathing can be accompanied by chest pain, but not in all cases.
Breaking out into a cold sweat, especially while resting, is a sign of a heart attack. This symptom appears right before the attack.
Suffering from cardiac insufficiency can cause an accumulation of liquid in the body. The swelling is noticeable in the feet, ankles, legs and abdomen.
Pale or sick looking
Many people appear pale or grey before suffering from a heart attack. As the blood pressure drops, the person will appear visibly sick.