Prioritising one’s heart health is one of the most important tasks anyone can do. A healthy heart will allow you to enjoy a long and happy life. However, some of today’s lifestyle and environmental factors pose challenges to maintaining good heart health. As one of the biggest causes of mortality in Australia, cardiovascular disease (CVD) takes away the life of one individual every 12 minutes. Cardiovascular disease kills three times as many Australian women as breast cancer. But what warning signs and symptoms can we watch out for that might indicate an unhealthy heart or potential heart problem? Well, many earlier symptoms could alert you ahead of time. This informative blog brings you five of them:
What Raises The Risk Of Developing Heart Disease?
Since heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in Australia, it is crucial to known about the factors that put you at risk. Almost half of Australians are at risk for heart disease due to one of the following risk factors:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of physical activity
With obesity, high cholesterol, and an unhealthy diet on the rise, it is important to be aware of the severity and risk factors of heart disease. Even though some factors cannot be prevented or controlled such as family history or age, some other risk factors are preventable.
What Are The Signs Of An Unhealthy Heart?
When it comes to heart problems, one of the first symptoms that strikes the mind may be chest pain. However, there are other subtle warning signs and symptoms that might indicate that your heart is screaming for attention. The following are some of the warning signs of an unhealthy heart:
1. Unexplained Tiredness
There are many potential causes of tiredness. Sometimes it means that your body need more rest. However, extreme tiredness that does not get better with rest could be a sign of a more serious problem. Unexplained or persistent tiredness could be a symptom of an unhealthy heart when:
- You often feel tired. It doesn’t feel like normal tiredness.
- You feel extremely tired or dizzy while simply standing or doing some daily activities.
- If you experience a sudden, severe weakness
2. Swollen And Bleeding Gums
You may be wondering how swollen gums can be an indicator of heart problems? Medical experts suggest that heart problems and gum diseases are related. Without proper oral hygiene, dangerous bacteria can reach levels in your mouth that might lead to gum disease and other oral problems. In case the gum layers get damaged, the harmful bacteria can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in other parts of your body including your heart. Although good oral health cannot prevent heart problems, practising good oral hygiene and regular visits to dental professionals is still important.
3. Sleep Apnoea
Sleep apnoea – a condition when your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep – not only affects your sleep quality but could also increase the risk of both heart attack and stroke. Additionally, it may also be a sign of atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm). Early detection and treatment of the condition of sleep apnoea could lower your chances of developing heart disease.
Anxiety is common among individuals, mainly due to stress and their lifestyle. Persistent anxiety can often be a sure-fire sign of an unhealthy heart. Palpitations and irregular heartbeats are the cause of anxiety, stress and panic attacks. Heart palpitations can make your heart beat too fast, or skip a beat. Thus, it can increase your risk for heart disease. So, if you suspect that you are at risk of developing heart issues, get your heart checked ASAP.
5. Swollen Legs And Feet
You might not associate swollen or puffy legs with your heart, but this could signal that your heart is not pumping blood as effectively it should. When your heart does not function properly, blood flow slows down and begins to back up in the veins of the legs, causing swelling. Persistent swelling in the legs and feet can be an indication of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs. So, if you’re getting swollen legs and feet, it is worth scheduling an appointment with your GP.
If you have any of the aforementioned signs of an unhealthy heart, schedule an appointment with your health care provider right away. In addition, to improve your heart health you should lead a healthy lifestyle, and introduce heart-healthy foods to your diet.