If my heart suffers a problem, will I notice it? This is perhaps one of the most frequent questions that is asked in the doctor's office. The answer is not clear, but there are symptoms that you should not ignore. Suffering them does not mean that your heart is going to fail, but it is better to consult with the doctor and, above all, to call the emergency number when several symptoms occur at the same time or if it is sudden and you do not associate it with overexertion.
Your heart can give you clues that you are having a problem and immediate or preventive care can save your life. In this article, we have selected 8 of them.
Should you call 911?
Although your first instinct is to take the car and go to the doctor, "it is better to call the emergency services (911) to assess the need for transfer to the emergency room." Going on your own is not a good idea as it will be more difficult to attend to a possible complication during the transfer if we are not accompanied by trained personnel ", warns Dr. Alessandro Sionis, cardiologist.
Angina or infarction
Both require immediate attention. If you feel pain in the chest that extends to the left arm, back, neck, jaw or throat, call 911. Angina is due to a problem of watering the heart by a partial obstruction in the circulation that causes an imbalance between oxygen supply and demand (ischemia); In myocardial infarction, the obstruction is total and causes necrosis (death) of cardiac muscle cells.
1. My chest hurts, is it serious?
"Chest pain is one of the symptoms that can indicate a cardiovascular problem and one of the most frequent reasons for consultation in the Emergency Department. Approximately 10% of emergency patients present for chest pain. Fortunately, the differential diagnosis is very broad and only in a minority of cases this has to do with a cardiovascular problem such as angina pectoris or myocardial infarction," says the specialist. Some circumstances and characteristics may point towards a coronary origin of pain: beginning during physical exertion or in situations of stress, oppressive character, centrothoracic or epigastric localization (in the mouth of the stomach) and irradiation to the arms and jaws. Many times the pain usually improves with rest in a few minutes. But if it does not happen, call 911.
2. Suddenly I am cold and I feel dizzy
"Hypotension (low blood pressure) can be accompanied by these symptoms, usually accompanied by a feeling of dizziness or instability.Also say that they are very nonspecific symptoms since they can be associated with multiple pathologies such as hypoglycemia in diabetic patients (down of sugar)," says Dr. Sionis. But if you suddenly feel dizzy and unsteady and also feel pressure in your chest, you'd better call 911. It could mean that your blood pressure has gone down because the heart is not able to pump enough blood.
3. Your legs and ankles swell
In most cases it is due to a fluid retention problem. But it could also be a sign that the heart does not pump blood as efficiently as it should and could be due to heart failure. This, in addition, can cause the kidneys to stop eliminating the liquid and the sodium of the body, which also produces swelling.
Call your doctor if you have sudden dizziness with chest pain. It can be a heart problem that needs immediate attention.
4. The beats are irregular
It is normal for the heartbeat to change rhythm with the effort, an emotion, not sleeping or taking too much caffeine. But if it happens frequently and you do not relate it to any specific situation, it is better that you go to the doctor. It could signal a condition called atrial fibrillation that needs treatment.
5. You tire too easily
Feeling very tired after doing something that in the past was done without so much effort (climbing stairs, carrying the bags of the super…) should also consult with the doctor. Extreme exhaustion or an unexplained weakness for several days or suddenly could be a symptom of a heart attack, especially in women.
6. Snoring at night
It is normal to snore a bit while you sleep. But unusually loud snoring that sounds like panting or suffocation can be a sign of sleep apnea (momentary cessation of breathing during sleep). Although this is not a symptom of heart failure, it could mean an increase in the long run. of the risk of suffering a problem, since it supposes an additional effort for the heart. Check with the doctor. You may be recommended to conduct a sleep study and assess if you need treatment.
Normally heartburn is usually related to meals and especially to the postprandial period. "If the pain has a cardiovascular cause, it does not improve with antacids," warns Dr. Sionis of the SEC.
8. Spots on the skin
Xanthelasmas, the accumulations of fat in a semilunar form most frequently located around the eyelids, frequently appear in people with high cholesterol or diabetes, although they can also appear in people without any pathology. "But you already know that high cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease In case of doubt, it is best that you go to the doctor to do some clinical analysis and assess how you have it.