Monday, September 24, 2018

Heart & Cardiovascular Disease - Warning Signs & Risk Factors


Due to my own health problems in recent years (Type II Diabetes and Retinopathy), I have become a big believer in preventive medicine, with includes early detection of possible health problems. The earlier you detect a potential health problem, the sooner you will be able to do something about it. At the very least, early detection can help lessen the severity of health problems, and perhaps even prevent them in the first place.

There are many different types of heart and cardiovascular disease, but they may share many similar warning signs and risk factors:
 
Risk Factors for Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
  •  A family history of heart disease (a blood relative with heart disease) 
  • A sedentary lifestyle (little exercise or physical activity, a "couch potato")
  • Prolonged periods of chronic stress
  • Being overweight, and especially being obese
  • An unhealthy diet (lots of fast food, junk food, etc.)
  •  Smoking or tobacco use
  • Having high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or diabetes 
  • Age (as a rule of thumb, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop heart or cardiovascular disease)

Warning Signs Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
  • Angina - chest pain, discomfort, tightness, or pressure
  • Fluttering or pounding in the chest
  • A racing or irregular heartbeat, feeling of "skipped" heartbeats
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Sudden fatigue or weakness
  • Severe headaches or unexplained bouts of confusion
  • Unexplained nausea or sweating  
  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Cough that produces white sputum 
  • Swollen legs, feet, ankles, or hands
Having any one, or several, of these warning signs does not necessarily mean you have heart or cardiovascular disease. It is also possible to have have heart or cardiovascular disease without being aware any symptoms. 

Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose heart or cardiovascular disease. If you do have any of the risk factors or warning signs, please consult a doctor as soon as possible. 
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This article is part of an ongoing Health Warning Signs and Risk Factors series. The previous article in this series is Type II Diabetes - Warning Signs & Risk Factors.

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