Something More Serious
If you are experiencing these warning signs of early heart attack, call 911 immediately.
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the chest that often extends up into the throat and lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, jaw or arms.
- Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.
- Becoming fatigued quicker than is normal.
Less common warning signs (found especially in women):
- Deep back pain right between your shoulder blades.
- Atypical chest pain, stomach, or abdominal pain. Some people will experience right-side chest pain, or will have pain only in a shoulder or arm.
- Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain).
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (with or without chest pain).
- Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or fatigue.
- Palpitations, cold sweat, or paleness.
Common Heart Problems
Even if your symptoms aren’t an emergency, it could be a sign of other serious heart problems. Although you may not always feel heart disease symptoms, they could be impacting how well your heart functions. Common conditions include:
Make Your Heart Health a Priority
Don’t wait until you have uncomfortable chest pain or other symptoms to improve your heart health. You can proactively keep your heart healthy with these basic guidelines:
Practice Healthy Habits
You can lower your risks for all kinds of health problems by simply living a healthy lifestyle. Eating well and exercising will help you maintain a healthy weight — which automatically removes obesity as a risk factor.
Aim for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, jogging, and swimming. Add in some strength training for your major muscle groups at least 2 days a week.
Choose a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Stay away from foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Your doctor or a nutritionist can help create a custom plan for how many calories you should consume
Keep Your Numbers in Check
To lower your risk for heart disease it’s crucial to know and control your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Medication and a healthy lifestyle are the two most common ways to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Exercise raises your HDL (good) cholesterol level and cutting back on saturated fat lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol. Certain medicines (called statins) not only lower cholesterol, but also lower your overall risk for heart disease.
Avoiding alcohol and eating healthy go a long way to help control your blood pressure, as well.
Ditch Drinking and Smoking
Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are some of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. The good news is, complications from these bad habits are completely preventable. If you do smoke, partner with your doctor to get on a plan to quit.
If you already have other risk factors for heart problems, it’s best to avoid alcohol all together. If you chose to have an occasional drink, do it in moderation. Limit your alcohol to 2 or fewer drinks per day for men and 1 drink for women.