6 signs that you have heart problems

Each year in the United States, around 610,000 people die from heart disease. It accounts for 1 in 4 deaths in the country and is the leading cause of death among men and women. Circulation problems around your heart can be connected to heart attacks, irregular heart rhythms and other heart-related illnesses. However, these problems are treatable if they're spotted in time. But many people don't recognize the first signs of heart trouble and ignore them or attribute them to other illnesses. The tragic consequences of this ignorance, and treatment that often arrives too late, range from lifelong health problems to death. With that in mind, you should never ignore the following six symptoms:

1. Breathlessness

You find you're breathing harder just walking up stairs? Not a good sign! If you have trouble, particularly with breathing, as a result of light physical exercise (like walking), this can indicate cardiovascular weakness or a heart disease. Of course, there are other reasons for this, like asthma, a respiratory disease or diminished oxygen levels in your blood, but you should get it checked out to be on the safe side.

2. Inflamed joints

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Something a lot of people don't know: higher blood pressure can also lead to joint inflammation and high blood pressure increases the risk of a heart-related illness. So if you're suffering from swollen joints, you should also check your blood pressure.

3. Sweating for no reason

You sweat even though it isn't hot and you're perfectly relaxed? Then you should be vigilant, because it can mean that you have heart trouble. A heart attack is often preceded by a cold sweat.

4. Pain

Feeling pain in your body now and then can have many causes. Hardly anyone thinks about a heart problem as a result of pain in their shoulders, chest, belly, back, neck, chin or arms. But this could be exactly what's behind it, because heart diseases lead to decreased blood circulation. Poor circulation in the different parts of the body then causes pain. In particular, chest pains should always be a warning sign, because they happen only when the heart disease is already at an advanced stage.

5. Pale skin

There are many possible causes for this symptom, ranging from simple iron deficiency on through to cancer. But reduced blood flow due to heart problems can be the root cause of severely pale skin. This symptom shows itself especially clearly before a heart attack or with serious fluctuations in blood pressure.

6. Fatigue

Alongside other symptoms like breathlessness or upper abdominal pain, a few weeks or shortly before a heart attack, women in particular suffer from severe fatigue. The oxygen supply in the blood is barely sufficient. Blocked blood vessels or circulation disorders can be the cause of this.

Many heart attacks and other heart problems could be avoided if patients did more to take care of their health. Stress, high blood pressure, obesity and a lack of exercise are a few of the main causes of heart problems. Many health professionals recommend walking for 40 minutes at least four times a week as a preventative measure. A fiber-rich, low-fat diet is also very important. If you're a smoker or regularly drink alcohol, you should consider changing your habits.

But above all: listen to your body! The symptoms here don't automatically indicate a heart problem, but it's always important to take your health seriously and watch out for the warning signs.

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