If you watch TV shows and movies, chances are you’re familiar with the classic symptoms of a heart attack—difficulty breathing, wheezing, the person clutching his or her chest, staggering, and then falling over. However, some of the symptoms and warning signs of heart disease could be more subtle than you think. These include the following:
Swollen Lower Legs and Feet
Also called peripheral edema, this is basically fluid retention that causes the lower legs and feet to swell. A top cardiologist in Mt. Pleasant explains that edema might be a warning sign of heart disease since when the heart isn’t pumping well, the fluid inside the blood vessels could seep out into the surrounding tissue.
This might be linked to heart disease since both are indications of reduced circulation, a common bacteria involved in plaque accumulation inside the heart arteries, as well as the typical response of the body due to persistent inflammation.
Extreme Emotional Stress
Broken heart syndrome, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, occurs when the heart muscle suddenly weakens due to significant emotional stress, usually due to a loss or grief, particularly among women. When this happens, the body would release a surge of stress hormones, particularly adrenaline, triggering cardiac pain that’s similar to pain during a heart attack, usually with palpitations, flushing, and shortness of breath. Unlike an actual heart attack, however, the heart arteries aren’t really blocked.
Male Pattern Baldness
Studies have shown that males who have pattern baldness have a 23% to 36% increased risk of developing heart disease than those who don’t have the condition. Do note though that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to develop heart disease. You need to consider getting regular screenings for other symptoms and warning signs of heart disease just to be sure.
It’s also important to remember that these warning signs could be caused by many different things. They don’t necessarily mean you have or would develop heart disease. Combined with the other symptoms and signs of heart disease, blood tests, your overall health, and your family history, these offer doctors a better chance of detecting heart disease early and treating it accordingly.