10 Early Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Disease

About 9% of women and 11% of men in the US have been diagnosed with a cardiac or circulatory ailment. But what signs should we watch out for that can point to a possible cardiac condition? This article discusses the ten early signs of heart problems that indicate consulting a doctor.


Everyone knows that severe chest pain is often an early sign of a heart problem. However, the signs and symptoms of some forms of cardiovascular disease are far less obvious.

Numerous issues with the heart and blood vessels might be referred to as heart disease or cardiovascular illness. Congenital heart disease is a condition where a person has a cardiovascular illness from birth. Sometimes heart complications develop gradually throughout your life as a result of your lifestyle, genetics, diseases or infections, drugs, or other factors.

It’s crucial to look for more than just the “traditional” symptoms because cardiac conditions don’t usually have outward symptoms. Here’s how to determine whether your symptoms are just due to being out of shape or whether they are the early signs of heart problems

What Are Some Early Signs Of Heart Disease?

Chest Pain

Although it is the typical early sign of heart disease, many individuals are unaware that this might be a severe medical issue. You should call an ambulance as soon as you have chest pain and severe malaise. A heart attack is typically characterised by a feeling of pressure, heaviness, or tightness in the chest. Chest pains are more likely to be angina if they come on during physical exertion but go away as you stop. That would still imply that you ought to visit a doctor.

Feeling Sick


Of course, not all cases of nausea indicate a heart attack. But if you’re experiencing discomfort as well, something is wrong. The moment to contact an ambulance is when you are experiencing severe chest discomfort, even though you are just sitting around doing nothing and feeling unwell. Contact your family doctor if you are experiencing discomfort, not excruciating pain or a sick feeling.

Stomach Pain

An indigestion-like ache or burning sensation in your stomach or chest could be an early sign of heart disease. Due to the proximity of the heart, gullet, and stomach, it can be challenging to distinguish between heart pain and a burning or indigestion-like pain.

Feeling Sweaty

Sweating after working out at the gym or on a sweltering day is normal. However, experiencing heat, clamminess, and chest discomfort should prompt you to dial 911.

Leg Pain

It may be worthwhile to consult your doctor if you get a tightening, cramping sensation in your calves as you walk because that could be a sign of PAD (peripheral arterial disease). People with diabetes and smokers are most likely to experience it. Schedule a visit with your doctor.

Arm Pain

Arm pain can be an early sign of heart disease, even though you may not usually relate it to your heart. Your discomfort is more likely to be heart-related than gastrointestinal if it runs down your arm, particularly your left arm, or into your neck. You should seek emergency medical attention if it persists or if you have heart disease and have tried your GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) spray twice or thrice with no noticeable results.

Jaw or Back Pain

Back or jaw discomfort can be experienced as an early sign of heart disease. Once more, if it persists, dial 911 for an ambulance. We know that women are less likely to seek medical care and treatment, and some data suggest that women’s symptoms are more likely to differ from “typical” chest pain.

Choking Feeling

The name “angina” means “choking,” and the tightness or pain may occasionally be in the throat. People frequently speak of a “restricting” or “choking” feeling. You should call an ambulance if the feeling persists and you haven’t already been given a heart condition diagnosis.

Swollen Ankles

This could be a sign of a bad heart and shouldn’t be disregarded, especially if the ankles get large. It could also be a side effect of any medications you’re taking; for instance, blood pressure medications can cause swollen ankles. A visit to your doctor is worthwhile if your ankles are swelling.

Extreme Fatigue

Constant fatigue can signify various health issues, including heart failure. Regardless of whether they have heart failure or angina, many patients tell us they are exhausted. It’s challenging since it’s so general. It’s probably not your heart if you’ve been working long hours or staying up late, but it’s a good idea to talk to your GP if you feel exhausted and your lifestyle hasn’t changed.

What Are The Risk Factors Associated With Heart Disease?

  • Age – A damaged and restricted cardiac system or a weak heart muscle develops with age.
  • Sex – Heart complications are more common in men. However, after menopause, the risk for women also increases.
  • Family history – The risk of coronary artery disease is increased by a family history of the condition, particularly if a parent experienced it at a young age.
  • Smoking – Quit smoking if you do. Smoke from tobacco causes the arteries to get damaged. Smokers are more likely to suffer from a heart attack. 
  • Unhealthy diet – Cardiovascular disease has been related to diets high in cholesterol, fat, salt, and sugar.
  • High blood pressure – Unchecked hypertension can result in the artery’s hardening and thickening. Alterations disrupt the blood flow in blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol – Atherosclerosis risk is increased by having high cholesterol. Heart attacks and strokes have been linked to atherosclerosis.
  • Diabetes – Cardiovascular disease risk is heightened by diabetes. Diabetes and heart disease are made more likely by obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Obesity – Being overweight worsens the factors of cardiac issues.
  • Lack of exercise – Heart disease comes in many forms, and some risk factors are linked to inactivity (sedentary lifestyle).
  • Stress – Unrelieved stress can deteriorate other cardiac issue risk factors and harm the arteries.
  • Poor dental health – It’s critical to regularly clean and floss your teeth and gums. Likewise, visit the dentist frequently. Germs can enter the bloodstream and move to the heart more easily when the teeth and gums are unhealthy. Endocarditis may result from this.

What Are Some Essential Measures You Can Take To Recover From Heart Disease?

If you’ve had bad heart symptoms, your heart may hurt. This may affect your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body and its rhythm. You might also risk having another heart attack or contracting conditions, including peripheral artery disease, renal issues, or a stroke (PAD). The following activities can help you reduce your risk of experiencing subsequent health problems after a heart attack:

Physical Activity—With your healthcare team, go over your routine at work and home. Your doctor could urge you to avoid work, travel, or sexual activity after a heart attack.

Lifestyle Changes—You can live a better, happier life by altering your diet, exercising more, stopping smoking, managing your stress, and using prescription medications. Ask your medical team if you may participate in a cardiac rehabilitation programme to help you with these lifestyle modifications.

Cardiac Rehabilitation—A cardiac rehabilitation programme should be taken in by anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem necessitating surgery or medical attention. Cardiac rehab is a monitored programme that includes exercise, a nutritious diet, taking prescription medication as directed, quitting smoking, reducing stress, and improving mental health.

Wrapping Up

Many symptoms that men and women feel are similar, although others are more prevalent in men than in women and vice versa. The majority of men and women who have cardiac issues exhibit these symptoms.

Men usually experience:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea

Additionally, women may also experience other symptoms like: 

  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue

Even though a cardiac condition may occasionally go undetected, there is frequently a cure. Do not wait to get your ticker checked if you detect one of these odd symptoms. Find out what you can do to treat it by visiting your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you detect early heart disease?

  • Apart from chest X-rays and blood tests, other ways to detect a heart disease include:
    Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Holter monitoring
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress tests
  • Cardiac catheterisation
  • Heart CT scan
  • Heart MRI scan

How do heart problems start?

Different heart problems have various symptoms and start differently. For example, the most frequent cause of CAD is the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries. On the other hand, a heart infection occurs when germs reach the heart or heart valves. So, consult a doctor if you suffer from any common issues mentioned in this article.

How can I check my heart at home?

If you have a blood pressure monitor, you can check for heart disease at home by taking your pulse and blood pressure. You can keep an eye out for signs of heart illness, such as tightness, pressure, or pain in the chest.

What does a small heart blockage feel like?

Some common symptoms of a small heart blockage may include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Squeezing or discomfort 
  • Emotional stress
  • Pain in the arm, jaw, neck, back or abdomen
  • Shortness of breath

Can blood tests detect heart problems?

Yes, some basic heart problems can be detected solely by simple blood tests. For example, it can show the cholesterol levels and other substances in your blood.

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