Cardiovascular health problems can creep up on us when we least expect them! Heart disease is notorious for being difficult to notice, as many of the symptoms only present when it’s too late and you’re in the middle of a full-on heart attack or stroke. But don’t let that be you! Watch for the early warning signs of heart problems and take steps to improve your cardiovascular health today:
Hip and Leg Cramps
This is a strange one, but it’s definitely a visible warning sign! Cramps may be caused by peripheral arterial disease, a problem caused by arterial narrowing in your limbs. The cramp won’t be your usual cramp—instead of staying put, you’ll feel the burning sensation travel up your legs toward your hip. This pain is caused by a lack of blood flow to your legs, simply because the arteries are too narrow to allow blood to pass.
Anxiety may be more than just a neurochemical imbalance—it may very well be a lack of blood flow to your heart. Studies have indicated that women suffering from anxiety are more likely to suffer reduced circulation to their heart, which means there is a risk that heart problems could be contributing to your feelings of anxiousness. Anxiety can cause panic attacks, with symptoms that are very similar to heart attacks: shortness of breath, heart palpitation, and shortness of breath among them. It will also put a strain on your blood vessels and force your heart to work extra hard.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with your day-to-day tasks, especially tasks you used to have no problem completing, it could be a symptom of heart disease. Cardiovascular problems can place extra strain on your heart, forcing it to work extra hard to pump blood and keep your body oxygenated. This “extra” work can drain you of energy, leaving you more exhausted than you would be with a healthy heart. If you’re tired even after a proper night of rest, it could be a sign of cardiovascular health problems.
Snoring is likely the result of sleep apnea, a condition in which your airways close as you sleep, forcing you to work extra hard to draw air into your lungs. This sleep disorder may not be the direct result of heart problems, but it can certainly contribute to them. You’ll find that the breathing disruptions can raise your blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeats. If you’re already at a risk of heart disease, sleep apnea just doubles down on the cardiovascular health problems.
Men, take note! Erections are only possible when blood flows into your penis, filling it up and causing it to grow firm and hard. But if you’re noticing that your erection droops or doesn’t grow as full or hard as it once did, it could be a sign of heart problems. After all, your heart is responsible for pumping all that blood to your penis, and if your heart is struggling, your penis may as well. The most common cause of heart-related erectile difficulties is arterial plaque buildup. If the issue persists for more than a few days or weeks, it’s definitely time to visit your GP for a checkup!
Bloating is a common problem with congestive heart failure, as well as indigestion and excessive salt consumption. Congestive heart failure is the result of your heart being too weak to pump blood through your body, leading to a fluid build-up. The swelling will typically occur in your ankles, legs, feet, or stomach.