As printed on almost every cigarette pack, smoking increases the risk of heart disease. While this is a known fact, the actual numbers often remain ignored. A new study looks at the risk of developing heart attack in younger smokers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over16 million Americans live with a disease caused by smoking.
Cancer, heart disease, and stroke are only a few of the conditions caused by smoking. Tobacco use also causes lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The CDC report that 1 in 3 deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) are caused by tobacco.
CVD includes several types of heart conditions. The most common form of CVD in the United States is coronary heart disease, which ultimately leads to heart attacks.
New research finds younger smokers are at much greater risk of heart attack.
Studying the risk of STEMI heart attack in younger smokers
Researchers from the South Yorkshire cardiothoracic center in the United Kingdom examined 1,727 adults who were undergoing treatment for a type of heart attack known as STEMI.
STEMI stands for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, and it refers to the electrocardiogram pattern that can be seen when a large portion of the heart muscle is dying. STEMI is a very serious type of heart attack where one of the heart's major arteries is suddenly and completely blocked.
The researchers used data from the Office for National Statistics Integrated Household Survey in South Yorkshire.
Almost half of the 1,727 patients - or 48.5 percent - were current smokers. Just over 27 percent were former smokers, and a quarter were nonsmokers.
The results were published in the journal Heart.
Smokers under 50 more than eight times likelier to have a STEMI
Overall, the study revealed that current smokers had a likelihood of developing STEMI three times higher than ex- and nonsmokers combined.
Current smokers were also three times likelier to have peripheral vascular disease than nonsmokers. In vascular disease, fatty deposits build up in the arteries and stop the blood supply to the legs.
Along with ex-smokers, current smokers were twice as likely to have also had coronary artery disease.
Current smokers were likely to be 10-11 years younger than former or nonsmokers when they had their STEMI.
The highest risk was found among smokers under 50 years of age, who were almost 8.5 times more likely to have a STEMI heart attack than nonsmokers and ex-smokers combined.
The risk was inversely associated with age, meaning that it decreased as the age increased. For instance, among adults aged 50-65, the risk fell to five times higher, while in smokers over the age of 65 the risk was only three times higher.
The smoking prevalence rate among STEMI patients under the age of 50 was 75 percent.
Strengths and limitations of the study
This is the first study that uses population data combined with case data to demonstrate that the risk of acute STEMI heart attack is much higher in younger smokers than older ones.
The study could help guide health policies to target segments of the population where a higher prevalence of smoking was noticed, and where there is a higher risk.
Additionally, the authors note their study could also improve current social perceptions on smoking, age, and associated health risks:
"This study may also help to tackle the misconception by young smokers that acute STEMI is a disease of the elderly, by showing that this group is very vulnerable and has the highest risk from their smoking."
However, given that this is an observational study, it cannot explain the reasons why the risk is so much higher in younger adults. Since younger smokers do not have many of the other risk factors for heart attack, such as high cholesterol, increased blood pressure, or diabetes, the results are all the more difficult to explain.
Authors speculate, however, that smoking may be the most important risk factor, as other cited research shows cigarette smokers are more vulnerable to arterial plaque rupture.
The study is also limited in the sense that it is based on just one regional specialist cardiothoracic center in the U.K., and it did not include patients who died before admission.
Additionally, the study did not account for those considered unsuitable for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) treatment at the center.
Study highlights the need for prevention among younger patients
"All current smokers must be encouraged into smoking cessation therapy to reduce their risk of acute STEMI, with a focus on the youngest smokers whose increased risk is often unrecognized," the authors note.
In a linked editorial, cardiologist Dr. Yaron Arbel, of the Tel-Aviv Medical Center in Israel, further insists on the need for prevention campaigns aimed at the younger age groups.
"Most smokers know that smoking is bad. However, exact numbers have a tendency to hit home more often. Therefore studies like the present one are especially important."
He adds that since most young patients lack conventional risk factors, common treatment practices are less beneficial for them. Therefore, efforts should concentrate on prevention, not treatment.
"Our goal should be to provide them with the tools to achieve abstinence," Arbel notes. "In difficult cases, even reducing the number of cigarettes smoked daily might make a difference."
Written by Ana Sandoiu
Read Original Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314441.php
Middle-aged adults who've avoided obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are far less likely than others to experience heart failure in their later years, new research reports.
Investigators found that a 45-year-old without those three key risk factors has as much as an 86 percent lower risk for heart failure compared with someone with poor control of weight, blood pressure and blood sugar.
"This paper provides more evidence to demonstrate the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle," said study co-author Dr. John Wilkins. He's a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Good lifestyle habits can help prevent obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in many people, "which will substantially reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease later in life," Wilkins said.
According to another heart specialist, Dr. Gregg Fonarow, "This means doing everything necessary to maintain a healthy body weight -- including eating a heart-healthy diet and remaining physically active, and having regular monitoring to ensure healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels."
The new report indicates that "while there are therapies available once heart failure develops, the most effective strategy is to prevent heart failure in the first place," said Fonarow. He is a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Heart failure affects an estimated 5.7 million adults in the United States. The disabling condition occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood and oxygen throughout the body.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about half of those who develop heart failure will die within five years.
For this study, Wilkins and his associates analyzed data from four heart studies launched across the United States between 1948 and 1987.
Through 2007-2008, the researchers tracked outcomes for over 19,000 men and women whose heart health was assessed at age 45. The investigators followed another 24,000 whose heart status was determined at age 55.
Heart failure developed in nearly 1,700 participants tested at 45, and in almost 3,000 of those examined at 55, the findings showed.
But men who were free of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity at 45 went on to live free of heart failure almost 11 years longer than men who had all three conditions. For women, the advantage was about 15 years, the study found.
On average, men and women without any of those three heart risks lived 35 years and 38 years longer, respectively, without developing heart failure.
Similar trends were seen among those assessed at 55, the researchers said.
Of the three heart-failure risk factors cited, diabetes appeared to have the greatest effect. Those without diabetes at 45 lived about nine to 11 years longer without heart failure, compared with those who did have the blood-sugar disease.
According to Fonarow, "this study quantifies the degree to which preventing the onset of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes can pay huge dividends in terms of lifelong health free from heart failure, cardiovascular disability, large health care expenditures, and premature cardiovascular death."
Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, noted that to enjoy these benefits, many Americans may first need to adjust their behavior.
"We need to make some pretty intense changes to our eating habits and physical activity," she said.
"The majority of us still come up short on key foods known to support health: fruits, vegetables, whole grains," Sandon said. "Few come anywhere near the recommended amount."
Physical activity is no different, Sandon added. "Many of us spend way too much time in sedentary environments. The 30 to 60 minutes you might squeeze in at the gym a few times a week barely scratches the surface to help support a healthy weight, blood pressure and reduce diabetes risk," she said.
The findings were published online Nov. 28 in JACC: Heart Failure.
More information There's more on heart failure at the American Heart Association.
Read Original Article: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/11/28/3-keys-to-cutting-heart-failure-risk/6841480369792/
Do you suspect there's something wrong with your heart? Watch out for these symptoms, and see your doctor if you're concerned about them.
Thanks to more education about healthy eating and advancements in treatment, fewer people die of heart disease than in the past. That said, clogged heart arteries are still the number-one cause of death in the United States. Although heart attack symptoms can be a scary first sign of trouble (and keep in mind women have different symptoms than men), sometimes the body offers up more subtle clues that something is amiss with your ticker. The following is a list of symptoms that might be worth a chat with your doctor. But they may also be caused by a bunch of other things, so don't freak out. (Many of these are also symptoms of anemia, so check out 15 Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency.) Only your real doctor—not Dr. Google—can really tell you if these symptoms mean anything at all.
You're extremely tried
This isn't just lack of sleep tired; it is extreme fatigue. Think of how you feel when you get the flu, except this doesn't go away. "A lot of women kind of blow this off assuming it's nothing and that they will feel better, but in reality it could be a sign of your heart," says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, Director of Women's Heart Health at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The reason why you feel that way: It comes down to a lack of oxygen. "The heart is struggling and straining to deliver the oxygen to your body." That said, plenty of people feel tired for lots of reasons. If this is your only symptom, you can talk to your doctor, but don't conclude you have heart trouble based on this alone.
Your feet swell
Feet swelling can occur for a bunch of garden-variety reasons, such as pregnancy, varicose veins (which are unsightly but not dangerous), or when you travel and have limited ability to move around. It can also be a sign of heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart pumps blood inefficiently. "Swelling can also occur when the heart valve doesn't close normally," says Michael Miller, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Some medications for blood pressure and diabetes could also cause swelling, says Dr. Miller. "Heart-related foot swelling is usually accompanied by other symptoms that include shortness of breath and/or fatigue," he says. If you recently developed foot swelling, see your doctor to determine the cause and how best to treat it.
Read Entire Article: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20902284,00.html
Heart disease is a clinical condition that is quite common in teenagers and kids, in addition to older people and young adults. This is mainly attributed to two major factors pertaining to the current lifestyle namely unhealthy eating habits (junk and processed foods) and leading a sedentary life (watching TV and playing video-games). With the rising cases of hypertension and obesity (controllable risk factors of heart disease) in kids, it is time we started care for our children’s heart health. And, this is where you as parents come into the picture. Wondering how you can start? Her are some quick tips from our expert:
Dr. Amar Singhal, HOD, Cardiology; Delhi based Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.
Read Entire Article: http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/7-innovative-ways-to-keep-your-childs-heart-healthy/
Moderate caffeine consumption may not be as dangerous as initially believed.
Concerns about caffeine consumption in patients with heart failure are largely unfounded, based on a recent study that found no link between caffeine intake and increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms.
Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, this study explored the ongoing controversy around caffeine and abnormal heart rhythms. While studies have linked very high doses of caffeine to an irregular heart rhythm, called arrhythmia, there’s little evidence that moderate caffeine intake has the same effects. Still, many doctors recommend that certain patients avoid caffeine to help prevent arrhythmias or heart events, while others believe these concerns are unfounded.
To help settle the debate, researchers conducted a double-blinded randomized clinical trial, which is considered the gold-standard of research studies. This study design randomly assigns participants to an active intervention or inactive placebo, and ensures that both participants and researchers are unaware of which group they’re assigned to.
Conducted from 2013–2015, the study included patients with the most common cause of heart failure, called left ventricular systolic dysfunction, which occurs when the heart loses its ability to contract normally. This condition affects roughly 60% of patients with heart failure and significantly increases risk for an abnormal heart rhythm.
Through the trial, participants were asked to consume five cups of coffee over five hours, which together contained 500 mg of caffeine or no caffeine at all, and then participate in an exercise treadmill test. Participants’ heart rates were monitored over the entire period and blood samples were collected to monitor caffeine levels in the blood. Participants then repeated the process one week later, being assigned to the opposite group they were assigned to on their first visit.
The average age of participants was 61 years and most were male.
After analysis, researchers found no significant differences in abnormal heart rhythms among participants consuming 500 mg of caffeine vs. no caffeine either at rest or during exercise. When analyzing blood samples, researchers also found that higher levels of caffeine in the blood were not associated with a difference in abnormal heart rhythms.
Based on results, authors conclude that consuming high doses of caffeine does not immediately trigger abnormal heart rhythms in patients with heart failure. And combined with past research, authors conclude that there is no solid evidence to support recommendations about limiting caffeine intake to prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
However, it’s important to note that this study only applies to patients with heart failure caused by left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Also, the trial tested the effects of 500 mg of caffeine—the equivalent to 2.5–5 cups of coffee, depending on the strength. Therefore, the study does not suggest that it’s safe for patients at risk for abnormal heart rhythm to consume unlimited amounts of caffeine. Rather, it suggests that moderate caffeine consumption may not be as dangerous as initially believed.
Read Entire Article: https://www.cardiosmart.org/News-and-Events/2016/10/Despite-Concerns-Caffeine-is-Safe-for-Patients-with-Heart-Failure
The largest study of its kind reveals that the number of people worldwide living with high blood pressure has nearly doubled in the last 4 decades. The huge international effort also reveals a stark contrast between rich and poor countries.
The number of people living with high blood pressure, orhypertension, worldwide has grown from 594 million in 1975 to over 1.1 billion in 2015 - mainly because of population growth and aging - says the study, published in The Lancet.
However, while average blood pressure is high and rising in less affluent countries, especially in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, it has dropped to an all-time low in high-income nations like Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The authors say the reason for this contrast is not clear, but they suggest a major factor could be that people in wealthier nations enjoy better health overall and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Earlier diagnosis and control of hypertension is also more likely to occur in wealthier countries. Taken together, these factors also help reduce obesity, another risk factor for high blood pressure.
Childhood nutrition could be another reason, suggests Majid Ezzati, a senior author of the study and a professor at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the U.K., who notes:
"Increasing evidence suggests poor nutrition in early life years increases risk of the high blood pressure in later life, which may explain the growing problem in poor countries."
High blood pressure major global killer
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the blood vessels. It is assessed from two numbers measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg): systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.
Fast facts about hypertension
Systolic pressure is a measure of the heart pumping blood. Diastolic pressure - taken when the heart rests between beats - measures the resistance to blood flow in blood vessels.
High blood pressure is defined as 140 mmHg systolic and 90 mmHg diastolic pressure or higher. This is normally shown as 140/90 mmHg.
Recent research suggests that the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases like ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mmHg systolic or 10 mmHg diastolic increase in people of middle age and older.
"High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke and heart disease, and kills around 7.5 million people worldwide every year," says Prof. Ezzati.
The condition is caused by various factors, he and his colleagues note in their paper.
These include diet (for example, eating too much salt and not enough fruit and vegetables), obesity, lack of physical activity, plus environmental factors - such as air pollution and lead exposure.
'Major health issue linked to poverty'
For the research, the World Health Organization (WHO) teamed up with hundreds of scientists from all over the globe and looked at changes in blood pressure in every country in the world from 1975-2015.
They pooled and analyzed data from nearly 1,500 population-based measurement studies involving a total of 19 million participants.
This showed that of the whole world, South Korea, the U.S., and Canada have the lowest proportion of people with high blood pressure. The U.K. had the lowest in Europe.
The research also shows that in most countries, there are more men with high blood pressure than women. Worldwide, there are 597 million men with high blood pressure, compared with 529 million women.
The figures for 2015 show that more than half of adults with high blood pressure in the world live in Asia, including 226 million in China and 200 million in India.
Prof. Ezzati says high blood pressure is no longer a problem associated with wealthy countries but with poor countries. He says their findings show it is possible to achieve substantial reductions in rates of high blood pressure - as seen in the data from more affluent countries over the last 4 decades. He adds:
"They also reveal that WHO's target of reducing the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25 percent by 2025 is unlikely to be achieved without effective policies that allow the poorest countries and people to have healthier diets - particularly reducing salt intake and making fruit and vegetables affordable - as well as improving detection and treatment with blood pressure lowering drugs."
"High blood pressure is no longer related to affluence - as it was in 1975 - but is now a major health issue linked with poverty."
Prof. Majid Ezzati
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Read Entire Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314155.php
Leading Cardiologist John Paul Runyon, MD, FACC, FSCAI, FCCP, to be Recognized as a 2016 Top Doctor in Cincinnati, Ohio
John Paul Runyon, MD, FACC, FSCAI, FCCP, cardiologist at Ohio Heart And Vascular Center, and affiliated with Adams County Regional Medical Center and The Christ Hospital, has been named a 2016 Top Doctor in Cincinnati, Ohio. Top Doctor Awards is dedicated to selecting and honoring those healthcare practitioners who have demonstrated clinical excellence while delivering the highest standards of patient care.
Dr. John Paul Runyon is a highly experienced cardiologist, having been in practice for more than 33 years. His long and successful career in medicine began in 1983, when he graduated from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Since entering private practice, Dr. Runyon has also served in a number of senior academic and research positions, including as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Runyon is dual board certified in Internal Medicine and in Cardiovascular Disease, and with his wealth of experience he treats a wide range of conditions relating to the heart and vascular system, from cardiomyopathy to arrhythmias and acute myocardial infarction. Expert procedures undertaken by Dr. Runyon include cardiac catheterization and cardiac MRI, and coronary angioplasty.
Dr. Runyon is renowned across Ohio and beyond as an innovator in the field of cardiology. He is noted for his use of minimally invasive techniques, and for lower limb preservation, and has led clinical trials and research in this area. He is now using his experience and expertise in his role as a physician executive. His dedication and commitment makes Dr. John Paul Runyon a very worthy winner of a 2016 Top Doctor Award.
About Top Doctor Awards
Top Doctor Awards specializes in recognizing and commemorating the achievements of today’s most influential and respected doctors in medicine. Our selection process considers education, research contributions, patient reviews, and other quality measures to identify top doctors.
"Expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed." This is the motto some of us live by. But for patients with heart disease, this pessimistic view of life may ultimately raise their risk of death.
Interestingly, however, the research team - led by Dr. Mikko Pänkäläinen of Päijät-Häme Central Hospital in Finland - found that high levels of optimism did not protect patients against CHD mortality.
CHD - also known as coronary artery disease (CAD) - is the most common form of heart disease in the United States, responsible for more than 370,000 deaths every year.
Learn the Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis & a TreatmentCHD occurs when plaque gradually builds up in the walls of the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other areas of the body. Over time, the heart muscle can weaken, causing arrhythmia - irregular heartbeat - and heart failure.
Previous studies have suggested pessimism - defined as a tendency to anticipate undesirable outcomes - can have negative implications for heart health compared with optimism.
Dr. Pänkäläinen and colleagues decided to explore this association further by looking at how pessimism and optimism independently affect mortality for patients with CHD.
"High levels of pessimism have previously been linked to factors that affect cardiac health, such as inflammation, but data on the connection between risk of death from CHD and optimism and pessimism as personality traits are relatively scarce," Dr. Pänkäläinen notes.
Pessimism increased CHD death risk more than twofold
For their research, the team analyzed data of 2,267 men and women from Finland who were part of the country's Good Ageing in Lahti region (GOAL) study.
Participants were aged between 52-76 years at study baseline in 2002 and were followed-up for an average of 11 years.
Upon enrollment, subjects completed the Life Orientation Test (LOT-R), which assesses levels of pessimism and optimism through a number of statements, such as, "In uncertain times, I usually expect the best," and, "If something can go wrong for me, it will."
Participants were required to rate how well each statement described them on a scale of zero to four, with zero representing "not at all" and four representing "very much so."
During follow-up, 121 participants died from CHD, the team reports, and these subjects were more likely to be highly pessimistic at study baseline.
Compared with subjects in the lowest quartile of pessimism, those in the highest quartile were 2.2 times more likely to die from CHD during the 11-year follow-up.
However, the researchers found that optimism did not protect against CHD death. There were no differences between low and high optimists with regard to CHD mortality during follow-up.
While these findings are purely observational and cannot prove cause and effect, Dr. Pänkäläinen and team say the results indicate pessimism may be an indicator of CHD mortality.
"Levels of pessimism can be measured quite easily, and pessimism might be a very useful tool together with other known risk factors such as diabetes,hypertension, or smoking to determine the risk of CHD-induced mortality." --- Dr. Mikko Pänkäläinen
Read Entire Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314179.php
The myth of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure
There's a common misconception that people with high blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, will experience symptoms such as nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing. The truth is that HBP is largely a symptomless condition. If you ignore your blood pressure because you think symptoms will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life. Everybody needs to know their blood pressure numbers, and everyone needs to prevent high blood pressure from developing.
The myth of symptomatic headaches
The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches except perhaps in the case of hypertensive crisis (systolic/top number higher than 180 OR diastolic/bottom number higher than 110).
In the early 1900s, it was assumed that headaches were more common among people with high blood pressure. However, research into the subject doesn't support this view. According to one study, people with high blood pressure seem to have significantly fewer headaches than the general population.
In a study published in the journal Neurology, people with higher systolic blood pressure (the top number in blood pressure readings) were up to 40 percent less likely to have headaches compared to those with healthier blood pressure readings. The researchers also looked at another measurement called the pulse pressure, which is the change in blood pressure when the heart contracts. Pulse pressure is calculated by subtracting the bottom number (diastolic reading) from the top number (systolic reading). Those with higher pulse pressure had up to 50 percent fewer headaches. The researchers think that the higher the pulse pressure, the stiffer the blood vessels. The stiffer the blood vessel, the less likely the nerve endings are working properly. If the nerve endings aren't functioning correctly, the less likely a person will feel pain.
Therefore, headaches or the lack of headaches are not reliable indicators of your blood pressure. Instead, work with your doctor and know your numbers.
The myth of symptomatic nosebleeds
Except with hypertensive crisis, nosebleeds are not a reliable indicator for HBP. In one study, 17 percent of people treated for high blood pressure emergencies at the hospital had nosebleeds. However, 83 percent reported no such symptom. Although it's also been noted that some people in the early stages of high blood pressure may have more nosebleeds than usual, there are other possible explanations. If your nosebleeds are frequent (more than once a week) or if they are heavy or hard to stop, you should talk to your healthcare professional.
Keep in mind that nosebleeds can be caused by a variety of factors, with the most common one being dry air. The lining of the nose contains many tiny blood vessels that can bleed easily. In a hot climate like the desert Southwest or with heated indoor air, the nasal membranes can dry out and make the nose more susceptible to bleeding. Other causes include vigorously blowing your nose; medical conditions like allergies, colds, sinusitis or a deviated septum; and side effects from some anticoagulant drugs like warfarin (Coumadin®) or aspirin.
Other inconclusively related symptoms
You should not try to evaluate your symptoms in an attempt to self-diagnose high blood pressure. Diagnosis should only be made by a healthcare professional. A variety of symptoms may be indirectly related to HBP but are not always caused by HBP, such as:
The Symptoms of Hypertensive CrisisAs mentioned above, only when blood pressure readings soar to dangerously high levels (systolic of 180 or higher OR diastolic of 110 or higher) may obvious symptoms occur. Blood pressure this high is known ashypertensive crisis, and emergency medical treatment is needed.
In addition to extreme readings, a person in hypertensive crisis may experience:
Read Article: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighBloodPressure/What-are-the-Symptoms-of-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301871_Article.jsp#.WC-69vMmySo
If something went wrong with your heart, would you know it?
Not all heart problems come with clear warning signs. There is not always an alarming chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor like you see in movies. Some heart symptoms don’t even happen in your chest, and it’s not always easy to tell what’s going on.
"If you're not sure, get it checked out," says Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute.
That’s especially true if you are 60 or older, are overweight, or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, says Vincent Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman. "The more risk factors you have," he says, "the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related."
Especially watch out for these problems:
1. Chest Discomfort
It’s the most common sign of heart danger. If you have a blocked artery or are having a heart attack, you may feel pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest.
"Everyone has a different word for that feeling," Chambers says. "Some people say it's like an elephant is sitting on them. Other people say it's like a pinching or burning."
The feeling usually lasts longer than a few minutes. It may happen when you're at rest or when you're doing something physical.
If it's just a very brief pain -- or if it's a spot that hurts more when you touch or push on it -- it's probably not your heart, Chambers says. You should still get it checked out by a doctor. If the symptoms are more severe and don’t go away after a few minutes, you should call 911.
Also, keep in mind you can have heart problems -- even a heart attack -- without chest pain. That’s particularly common among women.
2. Nausea, Indigestion, Heartburn, or Stomach Pain
Some people have these symptoms during a heart attack. They may even vomit, Chambers says.
Women are more likely to report this type of symptom than men are.
Of course, you can have an upset stomach for many reasons that have nothing to do with your heart. It could just be something you ate, after all. But you need to be aware that it can also happen during a heart attack.
So if you feel this way and you’re at risk for heart problems, let a doctor find out what’s going on, especially if you also have any of the other symptoms on this list.
3. Pain that Spreads to the Arm
Another classic heart attack symptom is pain that radiates down the left side of the body.
"It almost always starts from the chest and moves outward," Chambers says. "But I have had some patients who have mainly arm pain that turned out to be heart attacks."
4. You Feel Dizzy or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didn’t have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.
But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
"It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isn't able to pump the way it should," Bufalino says.
5. Throat or Jaw Pain
By itself, throat or jaw pain probably isn't heart related. More likely, it's caused by a muscular issue, a cold, or a sinus problem.
But if you have pain or pressure in the center of your chest that spreads up into your throat or jaw, it could be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 and seek medical attention to make sure everything is all right.
6. You Get Exhausted Easily
If you suddenly feel fatigued or winded after doing something you had no problem doing in the past -- like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car -- make an appointment with your doctor right away.
"These types of significant changes are more important to us than every little ache and pain you might be feeling," Bufalino says.
Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of a heart attack, especially for women.
It’s normal to snore a little while you snooze. But unusually loud snoring that sounds like a gasping or choking can be a sign of sleep apnea. That’s when you stop breathing for brief moments several times at night while you are still sleeping. This puts extra stress on your heart.
Your doctor can check whether you need a sleep study to see if you have this condition. If you do, you may need a CPAP machine to smooth out your breathing while you sleep.
Breaking out in a cold sweat for no obvious reason could signal a heart attack. If this happens along with any of these other symptoms, call 911 to get to a hospital right away. Don’t try to drive yourself.
9. A Cough That Won’t Quit
In most cases, this isn't a sign of heart trouble. But if you have heart disease or know you're at risk, pay special attention to the possibility.
If you have a long-lasting cough that produces a white or pink mucus, it could be a sign of heart failure. This happens when the heart can't keep up with the body's demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs.
Ask your doctor to check on what’s causing your cough.
10. Your Legs, Feet, and Ankles Are Swollen
This could be a sign that your heart doesn’t pump blood as effectively as it should.
When the heart can't pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes bloating.
Heart failure can also make it harder for the kidneys to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which can lead to bloating.
11. Irregular Heart Beat
It's normal for your heart to race when you are nervous or excited or to skip or add a beat once in a while.
But if you feel like your heart is beating out of time for more than just a few seconds, or if it happens often, tell your doctor.
"In most cases, it's caused by something that's easy to fix, like too much caffeine or not enough sleep," Bufalino says. But occasionally, it could signal a condition called atrial fibrillation that needs treatment. So ask your doctor to check it out.
Read Article: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/never-ignore-symptoms