One of the biggest health concerns that we face these days is heart disease. As a matter of fact, it has been termed as the most common cause of death in both males and females. The occurrence of heart disease has increased because of high-calorie, high-fat diets and sedentary lifestyles. It is essential for us to take proactive steps such as getting more exercise and eating healthier to prevent heart disease, but it can also be important to look out for the early signs in order to ensure that you aren’t suffering from any heart ailments and they are treated as quickly as possible.
Here are some of the early signs and symptoms of different heart diseases that you should watch out for:
Coronary Artery Disease
CAD is the most common form of heart disease that people suffer these days. It occurs because the arteries responsible for supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or clogged due to plaque buildup. This is usually because of a diet comprising of cholesterol laden foods. Chest pain or angina is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease. It mostly occurs during high stress or exertion and shortness of breath may also accompany it. You should report any of these symptoms to your doctor immediately, especially if you habitually eat foods high in cholesterol or have a history of family heart disease.
This is another type of heart condition that occurs when the natural rhythm of the heart is interrupted. There can be a number of causes of arrhythmia such as a gradual damaging or weakening of the heart’s valves or natural birth defects in the heart’s formation. An unnatural rhythm or ‘missed beats’ are often the most prominent when the heart is stressed out like during times of heavy exercise. A lightheaded or dizzy feeling often accompanies arrhythmias and can also lead to a loss of consciousness in extreme cases.
Fatigue and Swelling
Swelling in the extremities is another common symptom of heart disease, especially in the feet and legs. Reddening and swelling in lower areas will occur because the body will be unable to circulate blood properly and this will lead to discomfort and a bloated feeling. It can be a sign of heart condition if swelling is accompanied by general fatigue and a feeling of being unable to do much work.
Another coronary warning sign that should be checked is hypertension. Sometimes, an overall unwell feeling or headaches may be caused by high blood pressure, but in lots of cases, it may be elevated without any obvious symptoms. Therefore, your health regimen should include checking your blood pressure on a regular basis, especially if you have a family history of heart disease or hypertension.
Unfortunately, there are lots of symptoms of heart disease that aren’t very specific and the same symptoms also indicate many other health problems. Therefore, it is recommended that in order to protect yourself from coronary diseases, you should make regular medical checkups part of your routine. Problem areas can be identified with EKGs and cholesterol tests before they become life-threatening. In a number of cases, your chances of curing the problem are vastly increased through early detection.
Combating Heart Disease
You should take steps to keep your heart strong and healthy in order to prevent or combat heart disease. There are a few steps you can take for doing so, which are mentioned here:
- Smoking is one of the most serious factors of heart attacks. If you currently smoke, the risk of you suffering from a heart attack is increased about 250%. If you quit this destructive habit, the risk of heart disease will fall until it reaches the same level as non-smokers.
- You should also maintain ideal body weight because obesity is also a contributing factor to heart disease. The excessive weight puts a strain on the heart for pumping blood to the extra tissue. Therefore, you should take steps to shed off the extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
- You also need to keep your cholesterol levels in check. The best way to do so is to cut back on foods that are high in cholesterol. This means that you need to reduce your consumption of desserts, sugar and all animal products. Replace butter or margarine with olive oil and make it a habit to eat fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains on a regular basis.
- Exercising can also help in reducing your risk of heart disease so you should follow a proper exercise program. Vigorous exercise supports healthy cholesterol levels, works the heart muscle and can have overall benefits for health. Every time you go for a work out, make sure you are working up a sweat.
- You should also keep an eye on your blood pressure levels. If you notice is veering out of normal ranges, you should reduce your sodium intake. Instead, you should boost your calcium and potassium intake from sources such as bananas, sesame seeds, salmon, beets, broccoli, spinach and beans.
- Vitamins are also going to help you in your defense against heart disease. Vitamins that are high in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, C and beta-carotene can be immensely beneficial. However, you should never take any vitamins before consulting your doctor as you don’t want any problems.
- Another step that you should take is to find healthy ways of dealing with stress. It is also known to contribute to heart problems and you should be able to combat it. You can simply make a list of activities that you enjoy as they allow you to relax. Then you should find some time to indulge in these activities so you aren’t stressed.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption as it can lead to heart failure and high blood pressure. Always take it in moderate amounts for increasing your good cholesterol.
- Establish a proper sleeping routine as this will improve your heart health by improving your ability to function and your mood.