Happy Valentine’s Day! Admit it! You’ve taken extra steps to look extra special today, didn’t you? Well, for good reasons, everybody else around you is dressed up for date night tonight. You probably have yours calendared at 6 pm on-the-dot. New dress, new stilettos, a good looking new haircut, even your nails are done. You’re all set but, is your heart well?
Listen To Your Heart
Falling in and out of love are all part of life. The loves you’ve found and the loves you’ve lost all make living life worthwhile, don’t they? How your heart feels can be just as confusing as your first love if you don’t know how to listen in.
As a matter of fact, experts are saying that you have to tune into your body to help you figure out your heart health. Listed below are some of the tell-tale signs that your heart may be in BIG trouble:
1. Breathlessness and fatigue. When you’re putting in more effort to breathe even with just a mild exercise or just walking yourself from the bedroom to the bathroom, there could be something wrong with your heart. If your endurance and stamina, likewise, suffers inside the bedroom, most especially if you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction when you know you’re not yet at that age, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
2. Sleeping disorders and snoring. Do you snore? Also known as sleep apnea, snoring is far from just being an embarrassing sleeping habit. It’s a symptom of heart disease, even of an impending heart attack. You snore because your air pathways are not as open as they should be while you’re sleeping. Therefore, as your body, most especially your lungs and your heart, try to compensate to obtain the volume of oxygen your body needs, your brain, heart rate, blood pressure, and even breathing become adversely affected. Permanent damage to your organs develop over time.
Many studies have also confirmed that there is a link between missing sufficient hours of sleep night after night and developing heart diseases, among many other chronic, lifelong ill health conditions. Two such studies are discussed below:
- A study published in the Current Cardiology Reviews sorted through studies linking sleeplessness to hypertension (HT), coronary heart disease (CHD), and diabetes mellitus (DM). The researchers concluded that there is sufficient evidence to show a link between lack of sleep and these three diseases. The conclusion reads, “the relationship between sleep time and incidence of CHD or DM is U-shaped. Sleep periods that are neither too short nor too long may be important to keep us healthy”.
- In another study published in the European Heart Journal, the researchers observed over 470,000 subjects based in 8 countries with baseline data reported across 15 studies spanning 7 to 25 years. The researchers concluded that, “Short duration of sleep was associated with a greater risk of developing or dying of CHD (and) stroke”. The researchers further noted that sleeping for more than 9 hours a day is also associated with increased risk for heart disease.
3. Heart palpitations. Fine if it’s your true love that’s making your heart skip a beat but, if you become more aware of your heartbeat more often then, something must not be right. Heart palpitations signal that your heart’s components — muscles, valves, ventricles — aren’t well-coordinated that’s why you feel a skipped beat or a throbbing, racing heartbeat. This may be triggered by caffeine, tobacco, stress, menopause, and pregnancy. Poor health, including the presence of conditions like CHD, having lower than normal levels of potassium in your body, and anemia can also cause heart palpitations.
4. Gum and oral diseases. It might surprise you to know that your oral health has also been linked to developing cardiovascular diseases. One study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine demonstrated that subjects who have had their oral health checked and treated more regularly spent less on medical and hospitalizations costs for both coronary artery disease (CAD) and cerebral vascular disease (CVD).
Another study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology which reviewed the results of studies linking periodontal health and heart diseases confirms that a link exists between these two variables. However, the researchers further concluded, “Prospective interventional studies are required to determine the exact link between PD and CVD as well as to evaluate whether periodontal treatment may reduce the risk of developing CVD.”
Studies linking oral health and heart health are relatively new, and the American Heart Association is taking things more slowly. An article published on the organization’s website reads:
“Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Although these shared risk factors may explain why diseases of the blood vessels and mouth can occur simultaneously, some evidence suggests that there may be an independent association between the two diseases.”
5. Aching shoulders. You will usually dismiss this as your regular symptom of stress but, now you must know to never again take sore shoulders and upper back pains lightly. These could be signs of deteriorating heart health. On the other hand, painful shoulders can also lead to heart problems, as a study of more than 1,200 laborers claim. The researchers said that injury to the shoulders may cutoff or slowdown blood flow, increasing an affected person’s risk for developing heart problems.
6. Dizziness. Poor blood flow to the brain, most especially when further aggravated by low blood pressure, limits the supply of oxygen entering both your brain and your heart. If you’ve been feeling nauseous lately, it can’t be a good sign.
7. Chest pains. First of all, any chest pain that you feel, most especially if it is sudden and intense or, persistent, must be immediately brought to the attention of a healthcare provider. Chest pains can signal an impending heart attack. Of course, other conditions can also make your chest ache, among many, that includes: muscle strain, ulcer, and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or, acid reflux).
Here’s a guide prepared by the Harvard Medical School to help you distinguish chest pain that is likely due to a heart attack versus chest pain that may be caused by other reasons:
More likely to be a heart attack
Less likely to be a heart attack
|Sensation of pain, or of pressure, tightness, squeezing, or burning||Sharp or knifelike pain brought on by breathing or coughing|
|Gradual onset of pain over the course of a few minutes||Sudden stabbing pain that lasts only a few seconds|
|Pain in diffuse area, including a constant pain in middle of chest||Pain clearly on one side of the body or the other|
|Pain that extends to the left arm, neck, jaw, or back (see figure below)||Pain that is localized to one small spot|
|Pain or pressure accompanied by other signs, such as difficulty breathing, a cold sweat, or sudden nausea||Pain that lasts for many hours or days without any other symptoms|
|Pain or pressure that appears during or after physical exertion or emotional stress (heart attack) or while you are at rest (unstable angina)||Pain reproduced by pressing on the chest or with body motion|
Give Your Heart The Love It Deserves
People say that you have to love yourself first so that you can love others more. Caring for your heart today is one of the best ways that you can demonstrate self-love. Get yourself screened for heart disease most especially when you feel any of the common signs and symptoms of an unhealthy heart shared in this article, and if you have any one or more of the following risk factors:
- old age (above 45)
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- overweight or obesity
- sedentary lifestyle
- family history
- chronic stress
- any existing heart condition
- previous heart attack
(This article is unsponsored. It is not meant to provide any medical or treatment advise of any sort. Please seek the help of a medical professional if you think you may need treatment.)
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