Heart disease causes 1 in 4 deaths that occur in the United States every year. While you hear stories about people having unexpected heart attacks, the body often presents signs that something isn’t right.
Here are 8 common signs the body uses to warn you of a heart attack.
1. Chest pain
Chest pain is commonly associated with heart attacks. No two people will experience the exact same sensation, but this type of chest pain will extend to other parts of the body. You may feel it in one or both arms or your neck, lower jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
2. Abnormal perspiration
You may not realize this is an odd symptom because it can occur at any time during the day or night. Abnormal perspiration is more common in women, who may confuse it with hot flashes or night sweats because these are also common menopause symptoms. People who experience this tend to feel flu-like or clammy skin during the night.
3. Abnormal or irregular heartbeat
This symptom occurs more in women and can happen concurrently with panic attacks or anxiety. Arrythmias or skipped beats occur unexpectedly. If an irregular heartbeat lasts 1-2 minutes and goes on longer than this, seek immediate help.
4. Hair loss
This is more common in men over 50, but it can affect women as well. Increases in the cortisol hormone can cause hair loss. If you’re noticing hair loss at the crown of your head, be sure to pay attention to it.
5. Shortness of breath
This symptom isn’t just feeling winded. Shortness of breath or dyspnea is the inability to or feeling that you can’t take a deep breath. This can affect both men and women up to six months before having a heart attack. If this symptom persists it could indicate a larger medical issue.
6. Difficulty sleeping
Insomnia could be caused by many things, including anxiety. It can also cause an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. Though insomnia can affect both men and women, women suffer from insomnia more frequently than men. With insomnia, you may experience trouble falling and staying asleep or waking up earlier than normal.
7. Abdominal pain
Doctors have documented that immediately before a heart attack patients may experience intense abdominal pain. Bloating, an upset stomach, and nausea are common symptoms. It is common for both men and women, but isn’t more common in one gender.
8. Abnormal Fatigue
While feeling tired is common, this fatigue is so draining that you may be unable to perform even the simplest tasks, such as taking a shower. This type of fatigue is debilitating and will increase as the day goes on, making it impossible to ignore.
Most people are aware of habits that can increase the risk of heart attacks, such as smoking and physical inactivity. Family history and other health conditions can contribute to a heightened risk as well, and it’s important to recognize the warning signs.
You know your body better than anyone, so if your feel that something isn’t quite right, you should advocate for yourself and seek medical help.