The very first thought comes to our minds when we hear about heart disease is “Heart Attack”. It is true that heart attacks are most common among heart diseases in people, but it is not only the one people can get.
In medical terms, heart diseases are known as “Cardiovascular diseases”. But to keep it simple, we prefer to call them as heart diseases. A cardiovascular disease describes a range of conditions that affect our heart. It includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including blood vessel diseases such as coronary artery disease, angina, heart attack, stroke and congenital heart defects which are the heart defects a person is born with.
Why do cardiovascular diseases occur?
A cardiovascular disease can occur when the arteries become narrowed by a gradual build-up of atheroma; a fatty material within the walls of arteries. In time, the arteries can become so narrow that they cannot supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This can cause “Angina”; which is a pain or discomfort in the chest.
If a piece of the atheroma in the arteries breaks away, then it leads to the formation of a blood clot. This blood clot may block the coronary artery and drops down the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the heart muscle may be damaged permanently. This is known as a “Heart Attack”.
If the formed blood clot blocks an artery which carries blood to your brain, it can cut off the blood supply to part of the brain and then it is known as “Heart Stroke”.
Can you recognise a Cardiovascular Disease?
Unfortunately, most of the people don’t know that they are developing a heart disease until they are attacked by it. But there are some warning signs, which can indicate a heart disease and help to prevent the condition to become much serious if it treated early.
Though the symptoms of heart disease may not be same in every person, a set of symptoms are common among many people who suffer from heart diseases. As it is always better to recognise a health issue in its early stage and get treated sooner, learn the warning signs of heart disease and act appropriately as soon as possible. The warning signs of cardiovascular diseases include
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is often misunderstood as the problem related to lungs or respiratory system. But no, our breathing and heart pumping blood effectively are closely related to each other. When the heart can’t pump the blood as it should, blood backs up in the veins that go from the lungs to the heart. This leads to leak fluid into the lungs and causes shortness of breath. This is one of the symptoms of heart failure. One may notice shortness of breath during an activity, while resting and when lying on their back which may even wake them from sleep.
Chest Pain or Discomfort
Most people with heart attacks experience chest pain or some discomfort. Chest pain is the common sign of heart attack, but it’s important to understand that chest pain doesn’t occur in every heart attack. Some people might feel pain and some might feel chest tightness or squeezing. Chest pain and discomfort can be signs of heart muscle aren’t getting enough oxygen.
Coughing or Wheezing
People who suffer from coughing or wheezing that doesn’t go away may suffer from a heart disease. This consistent coughing or wheezing can be caused due to the fluid building up in the lungs. And people may cough up mucus that is pink or bloody.
Swelling seen in lower legs might indicate a heart problem. When the heart doesn’t work well, the blood flow slows down and backs up in the veins in the legs. This can build up the fluid in the tissues and cause legs, ankles or feet to swell. There may be swelling in the stomach as well and notice some weight gain.
Besides these symptoms, there are even some other signs which may indicate developing of a heart disease. The other symptoms include fainting or loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, excess sweating and palpitations, which means feeling like your heart is beating too fast or irregularly.
If you notice any of these symptoms consistently in your daily life, then it is better to take the action immediately and know the reason behind the symptoms. Recognizing the warning signs of heart diseases and getting treatment for them sooner can prevent your heart from severe damage.