Heart disease affects one in four Americans. When the heart is not working properly, it affects other parts of the body and could have serious consequences if not treated promptly and properly. Fortunately, there are some warning signs of heart disease that you can monitor and notify your healthcare provider if they appear. Once notified, your physician can intervene and prevent further complications.

Below we highlight a few ways heart disease may manifest at the earlier stages.

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Angina is a classic symptom of heart disease. It primarily involves acute or chronic chest pain, which may spread to the jaw, shoulder, back or even abdomen. Angina is a sign that your heart is working too hard and the pain is a signal to the brain that something is wrong with the circulatory system. Angina can occur when you are exercising or working and is often relieved by brief rests. If you experience this pain and relief pattern, it is a likely sign of heart disease.

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Fatigue is one of the first signs of heart disease. This is because the heart is neither receiving nor pumping enough blood. The result of fatigue is that various organs and tissues throughout the body are not getting adequate oxygen and nutrients which can make you feel tired and weak. You may also experience dizziness and lightheadedness on occasions. Since fatigue is also present in other conditions, it is best evaluated in conjunction with other symptoms. Your doctor can help determine if it something to worry about.

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Nausea and Indigestion

Some people experience nausea and indigestion just before a full-blown heart attack. While these symptoms are common discomfort in many ailments, your medical history, and health experience can help you determine if you should be concerned. If you have had any heart-related conditions in the past or you know you are at high risk, you should take this very seriously.

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Shortness of Breath

If you find yourself running out of breath while engaging in mundane tasks, then this could also be a sign of heart disease. It indicates that your heart may not be able to pump out oxygen fast enough for your lungs, causing you to become winded or even exhausted.

Shortness of breath usually disrupts daily activities since it feels like every activity is like mountain climbing. Some people reduce their physical activities, as a result, further damaging their heart functions.

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Swollen Feet

Swollen feet is another symptom associated with heart disease but it is also present in kidney disease and liver failure. Sometimes, swollen feet can be accompanied with pain, especially when walking. This is the case with peripheral heart diseases. If you are experiencing swollen feet along with other signs of heart disease you should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.

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Irregular Heartbeat

It is normal for heartbeats to be occasionally irregular especially when under stress, but if it happens regularly without a reason, you need to pay more attention to it. Irregular heartbeat is a problem of heart rate or rhythm. Your heart may beat abnormally fast, slow or even skip beats. Irregular heartbeat may be induced by a silent heart attack, birth defects, or stress. Your doctor can order tests to investigate the source of an irregular heartbeat and determine the best response. Heart rhythm problems can also be diagnosed as heart arrhythmia which needs special attention from your doctor.

If you have any of the symptoms discussed above, talk to your doctor about it. It is important that you reveal as much detail as you can remember. Also, ask questions about available treatments so you can get the best therapy.

We are still in the American Heart Month which is aimed at creating awareness about heart diseases and how to keep the heart healthy. Heart disease is often fatal because many people are not aware of the symptoms and could not seek medical intervention earlier. Now that you know, be vigilant and spread the knowledge to your loved ones!