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5 Signs Your Heart Needs Help

Is Your Heart Trying to Tell You Something?

Heart problems don’t always come with clear warning signs. Even heart attacks rarely cause the “clutch at your chest and collapse onto the floor” sign that you see in the movies. In many cases, heart problems cause subtle signs that may not even seem related to your heart.

So how do you know when to go to the doctor? Here are a few signs that your heart needs help.

Don’t Ignore These 5 Signs of Heart Problems

  1. Chest pain or discomfort

    Chest pain is the most common sign of a heart problem. It may feel like tightness or pressure, known as angina. Some people describe it as a pinching sensation, while others might say it feels like an elephant sitting on their chest. Pain or discomfort can travel to the shoulder, arm and jaw, particularly in heart attacks.

    Chest pain or discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes is a medical emergency, as it could signal a heart attack or other major heart problem. If the pain goes away quickly, or your chest is tender to the touch, it is probably not your heart but you should still get it checked out by a doctor.

  2. Shortness of breath

    Shortness of breath may be a sign of heart failure, a condition in which your heart has trouble pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs for everyday activity. Shortness of breath that tends to increase with physical exertion may be a sign that your heart needs help.

  3. Swelling in the lower legs, feet or ankles

    Heart failure can also cause swelling in your lower legs, and even in your abdomen or neck.

  4. Fluttering or thumping feelings in your chest

    Feelings of fluttering or thumping in your chest – or even feeling like your heart is skipping beats – may be signs of arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat.

  5. Dry or persistent cough

    A dry cough or cough that does not go away may be a sign of a heart problem. Your heart works with your lungs to deliver oxygen to the cells of your body. A weak heart allows fluid to build up in your lungs, in a condition known as congestive heart failure – the word “congestive” indicates congestion and fluid in your lungs.

If you experience these signs regularly, make an appointment with your doctor to check out your heart. Your doctor will order tests, such as chest x-rays and other types of imaging, to determine if your symptoms are actually signs that your heart needs help. Schedule an appointment with Virtual Imaging today by calling 770.730.0119.