A stressful life, unhealthy diet, and a lack of physical activity have together contributed to an alarming increase in the incidence of heart attacks in the United States. A healthy, balanced diet and exercise alone is not enough to reduce your stress levels and lower risk of heart attacks.
Heart attacks do not always come with obvious warnings, such as severe chest pain and may occur suddenly. Experts suggest that your heart usually indicates you of a potential heart attack well before it occurs. With heart attacks becoming a growing problem, it is important that people are aware of the symptoms to take precautionary measures that can save your life.
1. High Anxiety Levels
Many heart attack survivors report that they experienced high levels of anxiety before the heart attack occurred. So, high levels of anxiety may be an indication of a heart attack. However, not all cases of high anxiety mean that a heart attack is about to occur. But, it’s always better to forewarned and take necessary action.
One study established a connection between anxiety and the risk factors of coronary artery disease and found that anxiety is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiac deaths.1 2
People often mistake swollen feet or ankles as a cause of standing or sitting for an extended duration and don’t attribute fluid build up in various parts of the body to heart failure. But, heart failure generally causes fluid accumulation in the body resulting in swelling in the legs, ankles, abdomen, and feet.
Although it is not proven that inflammation causes cardiovascular disease, inflammation is common among heart disease and stroke patients. The inciting event in many heart attacks and some forms of stroke is the accumulation of fatty, cholesterol-rich plaque in blood vessels.3
Coughing can sometimes be an indication of an impending heart attack. But, most often cough and cold may be a result of an infection. Nevertheless, severe cough must not be ignored, especially if a person coughs bloody phlegm, or a nasty cough or wheezing, which may be a warning sign of heart failure.4
Constant coughing occurs as fluid begins to accumulate in the lungs. Pure left-sided heart failure may result in either pulmonary congestion, or hypoperfusion (decreased blood flow through the heart), or both, and may result in left-sided symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, wheezing, and fatigue.5
4. Pains In Different Parts The Body
Many heart attack survivors frequently claim that they had felt chest pain, which gradually spread to the back, jaw, arms, shoulders, and abdomen before the heart attack.6 However, not everyone will experience chest pain and instead may feel pain in other parts of their body.7
Generally, a person may experience pain between the shoulder blades, or in one or both arms, which is quite common. Although the pain may not be continuous, it should not be ignored.
Other Common Symptoms Of Heart Attack
- Cold sweat
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath
Never ignore these symptoms and assume that they’ll just vanish. If these symptoms persist for over 10 minutes, immediately call 911. If possible, request the person near you to take you to the nearest hospital. Additionally, chew or swallow an aspirin. But, if you are allergic to aspirin, don’t take the drug.
|↑1||Khayyam-Nekouei, Zohreh, Hamidtaher Neshatdoost, Alireza Yousefy, Masoumeh Sadeghi, and Gholamreza Manshaee. “Psychological factors and coronary heart disease.” ARYA atherosclerosis 9, no. 1 (2013): 102.|
|↑2||Ouakinin, Silvia Raquel Soares. “Anxiety as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.” Frontiers in psychiatry 7 (2016).|
|↑3||Inflammation and Heart Disease. American Heart Association. 2015.|
|↑4||Albert, Nancy, Kathleen Trochelman, Jianbo Li, and Songhua Lin. “Signs and symptoms of heart failure: are you asking the right questions?.” American Journal of Critical Care 19, no. 5 (2010): 443-452.|
|↑5||Ahmed, Ali. “DEFEAT–Heart Failure: a guide to management of geriatric heart failure by generalist physicians.” Minerva medica 100, no. 1 (2009): 39.|
|↑6||What Is a Heart Attack? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2015.|
|↑7||Mork, Anthony A., Scott MW Haufe, and William B. Yancey. “Sometimes (what seems to be) a heart attack is (really) a pain in the neck.” The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 17, no. 1 (2004): 74-77.|