Heart disease is the number one killer in the world, and you may well be ignoring common symptoms if you aren’t being attentive. A WHO report estimated that 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2008 alone, and by 2030, more than 23 million people will die annually from heart-related problems. Because it can be hard to determine the symptoms of a heart problem, make sure to pay attention to the following warning signs and seek the doctor’s help if they recur or don’t go away after several hours or a few days:
Dizziness and shortness of breath: Breathlessness, when you are not suffering from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can indicate a heart attack. Dizziness can also be a symptom.
Sickness: Stomach pain, indigestion, vomiting or feeling sick can also happen during heart attack.
Pressure: A feeling of discomfort in the chest area, like something is pressing on your chest or tightening around, can also be a symptom of a heart problem.
Chest Pain: While not all chest pain has to do with the heart, pay careful attention as to where exactly the pain is coming from. Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, associate dean for research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing in Little Rock, told Web MD that heart-related chest pain is often centered under the breastbone, a little to the left of the center. The pain can feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest, and sometimes it can be an uncomfortable feeling or fullness, pressure or squeezing.
Unusual Pain Elsewhere: Heart disease-related pain is not confined to the chest. It can radiate to other parts of the body as well. According to Amy Thompson, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, the pain can start on the left or right side of the chest, then reach up to the neck and jaw. A 2012 U.S. study actually found that a significant number of heart attack patients were admitted to hospitals without chest pain or discomfort.