Nausea Or Lack Of Appetite
Nausea, indigestion, vomiting, or abdominal swelling can occur during a heart attack. Sometimes the poor circulation due to a weak heart or blocked arteries can cause these symptoms. This is common in women, and often gets worse with activity and improves with rest. If you are experiencing nausea or lack of appetite that follows this pattern, see your doctor.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Disease
Sometimes heart disease may be silent and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. When these events happen, symptoms may include1
- Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
- Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest .
- Heart failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.
Learn the Facts About Heart Disease
- About 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each yearthats 1 in every 4 deaths.1,2
Is Extreme Fatigue A Sign Of A Heart Problem
If fatigue has become just another aspect of your waking hours, it could be a sign of a heart problem. Extreme fatigue can signal heart failure or, less commonly, coronary artery disease . We highly recommend that you seek medical attention if you feel an abnormal amount of fatigue throughout the day to either rule out heart failure or get treatment before it progresses.
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Reason : Your Heart Needs Exercise
Your instinct may be to baby a heart damaged by heart failure, but the opposite is true.
Aerobic exercise strengthens all muscles in the body, including the heart, says Cardiac Rehabilitation Director Erik Van Iterson, PhD, MS.
A heart that pumps more strongly increases the delivery of oxygenated blood throughout the body, which your body needs to generate energy and battle fatigue. You can actually make yourself worse by doing nothing.
A cardiac rehabilitation program and guided exercise training therapy can put you on the right track, both physically and mentally. All heart failure patients need cardiac rehab, he says.
If you were not raised in a culture that promoted exercise, you may find the concept intimidating. Dr. Van Iterson emphasizes that any exercise you do will be beneficial.
Exercise means different things to different people. There is no one-size-fits-all model to follow, he says.
Attending a cardiac rehab program enables you to be assessed for the type of exercise that will be safe based on your age, experience, overall condition and the condition of your heart. You may never have thought that walking around your neighborhood would be beneficial, but if you are for example in your mid-70s, have heart failure and have never exercised before, it will be, says Dr. Van Iterson.
Be patient and stay motivated. You wont feel better overnight. It may take weeks or months of consistent exercise to feel the difference, says Dr. Van Iterson.
What Are Some Common Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Disease
One thing to make clear from the start: Numerous heart disease symptoms are actually pretty vague, meaning they could be caused by any number of things other than heart disease. Which can make things tricky, or even lull you into thinking nothing serious is going on.
Take fatigue: In our go-go, 24-7 world, everyones feeling a little tired, right? And while some types of heart disease, such as heart failure, can make you feel extremely fatigued, being exhausted or rundown doesnt automatically mean you have a heart disorder.
So how do you know when its nothing and when its something? Never write off persistent or unusual fatigue as nothing to worry about. Were talking about feeling worn out after climbing a single flight of stairs, or trouble sleeping despite your exhaustion. Listen to your body, and if something does not feel normal or right, pay attention.
Ok, lets get started. Well break down signs and symptoms by types of heart disease. As youll see, some types of heart disease share similar symptoms.
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Heart Disease Risk Factors
It is important to pay attention to any symptoms that may indicate heart disease. Don’t ignore them or wait for them to go away see your doctor for testing and diagnosis. Many people mistake heart disease symptoms for heartburn or muscle soreness. If you have any cardiac disease risk factors, including
- being male
- have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
- family history of heart disease
If you have any of the above risk factors, you need to pay extra attention to any potential heart disease symptoms.
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats
- Other symptoms include nausea, palpitations, and chest pain.
Like valve disease, heart failure symptoms may not be related to how weak your heart is. You may have many symptoms, but your heart function may be only mildly weakened. Or you may have a severely damaged heart, with few or no symptoms.
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What Are Common Heart Failure Risk Factors To Be Aware Of
Heart failure typically develops because the heart has been weakened in some way, according to the Mayo Clinic. It could also happen if your heart becomes too stiff, which prevents it from filling with blood properly between beats, a condition that is more common in people assigned female at birth.
Theres a long list of potential heart failure risk factors because there are many different health issues that can weaken your heart. Here are some of the most common ones to be aware of:
- Coronary artery disease and heart attack
After You Call Emergency Services
When you call emergency services, the dispatcher may ask you about the medicines you take and your allergies. If you dont currently take a blood thinner and you arent allergic to aspirin, the dispatcher may advise you to chew an aspirin while youre waiting on medical attention. If you have nitroglycerin tablets, you may also wish to use these as directed by your doctor to reduce chest pain.
If you have a list of medications you currently take or any information about your medical history, you may wish to take this information with you. It can speed your medical care.
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Talk To Our Womens Health Care Provider If You Feel Unusually Tired
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, of course we sometimes feel tired! However, there are some signs that you shouldnt ignore your fatigue. For example, if youre suddenly and overwhelmingly tired without understanding why, this could be something more serious than needing a nap or an extra few hours of sleep.
Some other fatigue symptoms you shouldnt ignore include:
- Youre suddenly exhausted after doing your normal exercise routine
- You feel tired or your chest feels heavy even if youre not exerting yourself
- Simple activities, like making your bed, wear you out
- You feel extremely tired, but are still having a hard time sleeping
These symptoms can signal that something may not be quite right with your health. For example, extreme fatigue can be a symptom of vitamin deficiencies, anemia, and other health conditions. It can also be a sign of heart disease or an impending heart attack.
Unfortunately, many women ignore these signs to seek womens health care. We might chalk them up to aging, a busy schedule, or stress. However, if youre not feeling like yourself, its always better to be safe than sorry and get checked out.
Symptoms Of Coronary Artery Disease
The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is angina, or chest pain. Angina can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest. It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Angina may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.
Other symptoms of coronary artery disease include:
- Shortness of breath
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When To Go To The Hospital
You need to seek emergency treatment if you have any of these symptoms:
Chest pain should always be considered a serious symptom because it can indicate an emergency situation. If you’re experiencing chest pain and any of these factors apply to you, you should seek emergency care:
- You have a strong family history of early heart disease.
- You’re 45 years old or older and you have any of the risk factors for coronary artery disease, including obesity, smoking, family history, diabetes, high cholesterol, or a sedentary lifestyle.
- The pain is worse than any other chest pain you’ve had.
- The pain feels like it’s spreading to your neck, shoulders, upper abdomen, arms, back, or jaws.
- The pain is crushing, tight, heavy, or feels like squeezing.
- You also feel nauseous, fatigued, weak, short of breath, dizzy, sweaty, or you’ve fainted.
- You feel like something is very wrong.
- The pain keeps getting worse as the minutes pass.
- The pain is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Heart Attack Symptoms
If you have symptoms of a heart attack, be sure to seek emergency medical care. These symptoms include:
- Chest or arm pain, pressure, or discomfort that may spread to your neck, back, or jaw
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and loss of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
If you’re with a loved one and suspect he or she is having a stroke, use these measures to help you determine if there’s a problem:
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- Collapsing suddenly
Compassionate Understanding Womens Health Care At Herkare
Our team at HerKare is here to help you feel great again. We put you in charge at our womens health clinic. Our goal is to help you stay healthy and help improve your quality of life. Whether you need an annual exam or are coming in to talk about any symptoms or concerns you have about your health, we believe in providing compassionate womens health care in a welcoming environment. We take time to listen and understand, and then help you feel better. Make an appointment today and lets talk about your health and wellbeing!
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Indigestion Nausea And Vomiting
Often people begin experiencing mild indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems before a heart attack. Because heart attacks usually occur in older people who typically have more indigestion problems, these symptoms can get dismissed as heartburn or another food-related complication.
If you normally have an iron stomach, indigestion or heartburn could be a signal that something else is going on.
Tired Fatigue May Signal Heart Problems In Women
If youre in need of a long nap or a jolt of caffeine, youre not alone. A survey by the National Safety Council found that 76% of Americans say they feel tired at work. Of those, 43% say they dont get enough sleep to drive or perform their jobs safely. Another survey, by the staffing firm Accountemps, ranks Dallas as having the 8th sleepiest workers in the nation. We dont need surveys to tell us were tired. But we do wonder if were too tired if something more is going on.
A lot of womenas well as mentend to overlook their fatigue, chalking it up to aging, overscheduling or a variety of fill-in-the-blank reasons. They hesitate to mention it to their doctors, but they should. Here’s why.
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How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
First, your doctor will go through your medical history to identify any potential heart failure risk factors. Then, theyll do a physical exam to listen to your lungs for signs of fluid build-up and your heart for specific noises that can be indicative of heart failure.
After that, there are a slew of potential tests your doctor may recommend if they suspect you have heart failure symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Blood tests to look for signs of diseases that can impact your heart.
- Chest X-ray to visualize the condition of your lungs and heart.
- Electrocardiogram to record electrical signals in your heart and determine the timing and length of your heartbeats.
- Echocardiogram to produce images of your heart in motion, along with how well your heart is pumping, via sound waves.
- Stress test to measure the health of your heart during physical activity.
- Cardiac computerized tomography scan to collect images of your heart and chest.
- Magnetic resonance imaging to create images of your heart via radio waves and a magnetic field.
- Coronary angiogram, where a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to your hearts arteries to help your doctor search for blood flow blockages.
- Myocardial biopsy, where a small, flexible cord is inserted into a vein in your neck or groin in order to remove very small pieces of your heart muscle to be analyzed.
Tiredness Could Indicate A Problem With Your Heart
According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep or wakefulness disorders. If youre between the ages of 18 and 64 and are getting the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended 7 to 9 hours of 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night but are still tired, your fatigue could be a symptom of a medical condition such as allergies, depression, cancer, or even a serious heart condition.
Many women don’t think they’re at risk for heart disease because of their gender, but heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women. The age factor can also be misleading: Research from the American Heart Association shows that the number of heart attacks among younger people is increasing, and among younger women in particular.
Take our free Heart Risk Assessment to see if youre at risk for heart disease.
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How Can I Prevent A Silent Heart Attack
Now’s the time to focus on heart-healthy habits, including stopping smoking or tobacco, eating a healthy diet, managing stress and exercising regularly.
Dr. Brittsan says one of the best preventative measures is having your vital signs checked.
“If you never check your blood pressure, you’ll never know it’s elevated,” she said. Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range, according to the American Heart Association.
Plenty of affordable devices available allow you to check your blood pressure at home. Dr. Brittsan recommends one that uses an arm cuff, making sure it’s correctly sized.
For people that have a family history of heart disease, another important test is a heart scan that measures coronary artery calcium to find evidence of plaque disease before a silent heart attack happens.
Dr. Brittsan stresses the importance of consulting your doctor before a heart condition worsens.
“When people say, ‘I feel fine and don’t need to go to the doctor,’ just because you feel fine doesn’t necessarily mean you’re OK,” she said.
Types Of Heart Disease
Below are some common forms of heart disease in North America.
- Heart failure develops when the heart becomes damaged through infection, injury or a previous heart attack and the capabilities of the heart are decreased. The heart loses the ability to pump blood with as much force as it once could and it can result in decreased blood flow to the body and fluid buildup in the legs and lungs.
- Coronary artery disease is the most common kind of heart disease. It is caused by blockages in the blood vessels of the heart. Blockages here can lead to a heart attack and chest pain.
- Peripheral vascular disease occurs when there is a lack of proper blood flow through blood vessels in the body.
- Congenital heart defects are issues in the heart that someone is born with. Heart defects include structural changes in the valves, muscles or blood vessels in and around the heart. Through infection or injury, the structure of the heart can also be damaged.
- Arrhythmias are caused by changes in the rhythm of the heart. Either the heart beats too slowly, quickly or in uneven patterns. This change in the beat of the heart can disrupt the blood flow out to the body.
- Endocarditis or myocarditis are caused by inflammation of the heart . Heart inflammation is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection.
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Diagnostic Tests To Determine Heart Attack Risk
If there is a worry that the heart is involved, you may undergo a screening test known as an electrocardiogram, or EKG. This recording of the hearts electrical activity can give information regarding not only heart rhythm problems but also heart artery disease and abnormalities in the heart chambers.
An abnormal EKG can mean many things, and not all of them are negative. Some people have a variation in their heart rhythm thats normal for them this will not affect their health now or in the future. But it can also indicate something more serious, like medication side effects, that your heart is beating too fast or slow, arrhythmia , and yes, sometimes a heart attack. If your provider believes there is a concern, youll know.
If an EKG is normal but your doctor still suspects a heart problem, he or she may order a stress test, which detects your hearts rhythm using electrodes taped to your chest while you exercise . This can help determine your risk of heart disease by looking at how much exercise it takes for the blood flow to your heart to decrease or for your hearts rhythm to become abnormal.
Depending on your doctors exam and analysis, youll likely receive one of three instructions:
Given the sometimes-confusing information that is out there, it makes sense to wonder if fatigue and heart attack are linked. If youre at all concerned, contact your health care provider to get to the bottom of it.