You’re likely familiar with the most common symptoms of a heart attack: shortness of breath accompanied by sharp, debilitating pain in your chest, shoulder, neck or jaw. However, while most are aware of these indicators, there are other, less common warning signs you should familiarize yourself with.
In the weeks leading up to a heart attack, some patients experience the following:
- Lingering upper body pain. This could include pain in your chest, shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw.
- Anxiety. Panic attacks accompanied by an impending sense of doom with no logical cause.
- Nausea and abdominal pain. This may result in vomiting or a feeling of heartburn.
- Fainting. While more common in women and elderly people with diabetes, unexplained fainting could precede a heart attack.
These symptoms could indicate cardiovascular disease, which is caused by narrow, blocked or stiffened blood vessels that prevent your heart, brain and other body parts from receiving the blood they need. Cardiovascular disease is typically caused by correctable behaviors such as unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and smoking. Other risk factors include age, gender, weight and family history, as well as high blood pressure, diabetes, stress and poor hygiene.
The good news is that when caught early, cardiovascular disease is often highly treatable. Treatments usually include lifestyle changes, prescription medications, medical procedures and/or surgery. Set up an appointment with one of our highly trained primary care providers if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or have concerns about your heart health.