Chest pain is not present always in people with heart disease. Instead, other symptoms can be the signals that alert a person to heart disease.
When the following symptoms appear with no apparent reason, pay attention and report them to a doctor.
Fatigue can be caused by several illnesses or by common medicines. However, constant, new fatigue can sometimes signal heart failure or coronary artery disease. Call your doctor if your fatigue is persistent and does not improve with rest.
Unexplained aches or pains
Coronary artery disease obstructs your body’s blood supply, making it harder for it to reach the heart. In response, your heart pumps harder, which can cause pain. This pain is not always felt in the chest. It can be felt in the arms, shoulders, back, jaw or abdomen. If the pain in these places occurs with exercise and disappears with rest, then the pain could well be a sign of heart disease.
Call your doctor if you have:
- Symptoms that begin with activity and are calmed with rest
- Several symptoms at a time, such as fatigue and pain in your chest or shoulder
- A known history of heart disease or issues that raise the risk of heart disease, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or smoking
Shortness of breath
Do not be too quick to accept shortness of breath as just a matter of being out of shape. Unsolved shortness of breath that occurs with minor amounts of activity could indicate heart trouble.
Swollen feet or ankles
Watch out for leg, ankle or foot swelling. See if it touching the affected area leaves an indentation on the skin. If so, this could be a sign of heart disease. This can also be a symptom of liver failure, kidney disease, overeating salty food, inefficient blood flow in the legs or a side effect of some drugs. Discuss this matter with your doctor to determine the cause of this swelling.
Does your heartbeat feel rapid or irregular? Most palpitations are harmless as they could be a result of caffeine intake, anxiety or dehydration.
However, palpitations could indicate a heart problem. It is vital to note how the palpitations feel, how often they occur and what action or movement you may be doing when this is experienced.
For example, if you are watching a television program and your heart suddenly begins to beat rapidly or irregularly, then speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Is it a heart attack?
Heart attacks might be brought on by exercise, but they also can happen when you are at rest. Call 911 if one or more of the following symptoms suddenly develop:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or upper abdomen area
- Fainting, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, the jaw, the neck or the stomach
- Excessive fatigue