If something feels a little off or you’re experiencing mild symptoms, it’s easy to shrug them off and assume it’s nothing serious. But some seemingly mild symptoms can be warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore, especially when it comes to your heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, and those over the age of 45 are particularly at risk.
It’s especially important for seniors to be able to recognize the symptoms that could be warning you about an unhealthy heart. Here are some of the warning signs to look out for.
An arrhythmia is when your heart beats in an irregular rhythm. This isn’t always a sign of something serious, but it is always worth getting checked out because it can be a predictor of heart attacks, heart disease, and heart failure. If your resting heartbeat is faster than usual or if you notice your heart skipping beats, then you should get this checked out.
Chest and shoulder pain
Chest pain is a well-known warning sign of a heart attack. You should especially pay attention if the pain or tightness is located on the left-hand side of your chest. This pain could also be felt more generally in the torso, particularly around the shoulder.
Shortness of breath
Various heart conditions can cause shortness of breath because your heart cannot deliver oxygen in the blood as efficiently as usual. In heart failure, this can also cause the blood vessels to become backed up with blood, which can cause fluid to build up in the lungs. If everyday activities (not moderate-to-strenuous exercise) suddenly leave you feeling out of breath, then it is worth getting this symptom checked out.
A persistent cough
There are many causes of a cough. It could just be as simple as the common cold. However, related to the fluid build-up in the lungs mentioned earlier, a persistent cough can also be a sign of heart failure. If your cough persists, then see your doctor for a possible diagnosis.
There is a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, so it’s important to keep up with regular dental check-ups and see your dentist or doctor if you have any oral health symptoms. Look out for swollen, sore, or bleeding gums, which might indicate gum disease. Pain in the jaw or gums can also be a warning sign of an impending heart attack.
Certain sleep disorders are also linked with heart problems. Sleep apnea, problems with breathing in your sleep, can place more stress on the heart, leading to problems like high blood pressure and arrhythmia. This increased stress then puts you at more risk of serious heart conditions, especially if your sleep problems are left untreated.
It’s important to be vigilant and look after your health as you age. If you or a loved one needs support with their health or care, then contact Brookstone of Clemmons to learn about our assisted living community.