Heart disease is one of the most serious health problems of our times. What are the warning signs, and how can you reduce your risk?
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in most developed countries around the world, and the number of cases is rising constantly as a result of both modern lifestyles and increased overall longevity. While developing the condition can have a devastating impact on the sufferer’s life, modern medicine has developed several effective treatments for heart disease, ranging from drugs and lifestyle improvements right through to surgery.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so before we look at some of the symptoms of cardiac disease we’ll look at some of the ways you can help your body ward off the risks.
Living a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to reducing the chances of developing cardiac problems, but there is unfortunately an element of inherited risk, so even those with excellent overall health may find that they’re genetically programmed towards heart disease in later life. Thankfully, the greatest influence genetics has on heart disease is that of making us more susceptible to certain causes, and with careful adjustments of our lifestyles we can greatly improve our prospects of avoiding it.
The two most deadly contributors to cardiac problems are smoking and obesity. Both of these can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels, putting extra strain on the heart. Smoking causes the build up of fatty deposits within the arteries, also causing circulation problems. Being overweight also tends to mean that a healthy diet is not being followed, and so the body may well be short of essential minerals and nutriments that the heart needs to keep on functioning healthily.
Stopping smoking and other unhealthy practices such as excessive drinking, along with improving diet and taking up exercise to reduce weight can go a long way towards averting problems.
The symptoms of a developing heart problem can be both subtle and dramatic. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms can also signify other less dangerous conditions, and so a diagnosis of heart disease is often made later than it could have been. If you come across more than one of the symptoms below, then a trip to your doctor is highly advisable.
Breathlessness when engaged in physical exercise is normal to some extent for almost everyone, but if you find you’re becoming breathless more and more easily then this is a clear sign that your general fitness levels aren’t all they could be, and that your heart may be struggling under the pressure.
Palpitations, that is a heavily or unevenly beating heart, can be a sign of anxiety or can come on after extreme exercise, but if neither of these situations apply then heart problems could well be the culprit.
A tingling feeling in bodily extremities such as fingers, toes or lips is often a sign that your cirulation system isn’t delivering enough oxygen, again a sign of possible heart problems. Should your extremeities go on to develop a blueish colour then this is certainly not a good sign, and medical attention should be sought at once.
The final and most obvious sign of cardiac problems is a feeling of tightness or pain in the chest, a condition known as angina. If you feel chest pain with any regularity, even if not particularly severely, a medical check up is advisable to make sure you catch any problems as early as possible. Angina can be controlled very well by medication in many cases, and doesn’t necessarily have to develop into full-blown heart disease.
In summary, living a healthy lifestyle while keeping an eye out for the symptoms will greatly reduce the risk of your life being devastated by heart disease.