Signs of heart trouble: You get easily fatigued doing any physical activity
If you usually run a mile every day with ease but suddenly aren’t able to (you may feel overcome by a severe flu-like fatigue), that may be a sign your heart is not pumping enough blood throughout your body. “Activities that used to be easy and now are suddenly met with new difficulty can be a red flag that something is wrong,” says Erin Michos, MD, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology and associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland. If a good night’s sleep doesn’t fix your overwhelming exhaustion, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Learn about these other 25 heart-health secrets cardiologists want you to know.
Signs of heart trouble: You’re having sexual problems in the bedroom
Erectile dysfunction is one of the classic warning signs of heart trouble that you may be at risk for heart disease. Anxiety, depression, and stress can also inhibit your ability to get intimate with your partner, but your bedroom troubles could also stem from blocked arteries in the heart, which prevent blood from flowing properly to your penis. Vascular erectile dysfunction is the most common type of sexual dysfunction and is often caused by two kinds of diseases—atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction. Atherosclerosis causes the arteries to harden and narrow, causing heart attacks and strokes. Endothelial dysfunction prevents your blood vessels from relaxing properly, which decreases blood flow throughout your body. “Erectile dysfunction symptoms often precede the onset of heart symptoms by at least two years,” says Dr. Michos. “The detection of erectile dysfunction offers a window to intervene and stop cardiac disease in its tracks.” Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and lack of an exercise regime are also risk factors for heart disease.
Signs of heart trouble: You suffer from high blood pressure
A high blood pressure diagnosis could increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease. If you don’t lower those numbers, it could damage your arteries and cause plaque to build up around your artery walls down the line, which slowly blocks blood flow. When your blood is constantly pushing against your blood vessels at a high rate, it forces your heart and blood vessels to work harder and less efficiently. “People intuitively think that they’re going to know that they have high blood pressure, but a lot of times that only comes when the blood pressure is remarkably high,” says Lawrence Phillips, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “I encourage everyone to get their blood pressure checked because blood pressure is one of the most modifiable risks.” Start eating more of these 23 foods that can lower your blood pressure.