Taking care of your heart is essential to living a long and happy life, but with heart attacks remaining one of the biggest causes of death in the nation, it's apparent that many people don't even realize they have an issue until it is too late. Here are some surprising signs that mean you need to get your heart checked out.
#1 Sexual Issue: Erectile dysfunction in males is one of the most common manifestations of arterial disease. Plaque buildup in the body's arteries leads to erectile dysfunction and precedes heart problems. For females, a reduced libido is one of the most obvious signals that a heart problem could be present. This usually occurs in the post-menopausal state, and menopause rapidly increases the risk factors of heart disease.
#2 Snoring: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, along with being sleepiness in the morning after getting a full night's rest. Sleep apnea, which is characterized by times during the night when you stop breathing, can be associated with the physiological changes that increase your risk of getting a stroke or heart attack. It can also be a sign of an irregular heartbeat, which leads to poor blood flow. Detection and early treatment are key.
#3 Gum Issues: If you have sore, swollen, or bleeding gums, you may have periodontitis. This is a serious type of gum infection that damages not only your gums, but also you're jawbone. This condition can lead to increased inflammation throughout the body, and that over-activity of inflammatory pathways is often a strong risk factor for people developing arterial heart disease and eventually having a heart attack.
Regular brushing and flossing can help keep your gums healthy, but it's still important to regularly follow up with your dentist to ensure you don't have any signs of gum disease.
#4 Puffy Legs and Feet: Puffiness and swelling in your legs and feet can be a major market of congestive heart failure, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath. Swelling happens naturally as the day goes on but should resolve at night. And, persistent or worsening swelling should prompt a visit to your physician for a heart evaluation.
#5 Aching or Constriction In Your Back: An aching sensation or feelings of constriction in your shoulders or neck could be the sign of an unhealthy heart. People often describe it like “an elephant sitting on their chest” or a squeezing in their arms, which are symptoms of a heart attack. The uncomfortable feeling in your neck, jaw, or shoulders could be signs of a heart attack--and so could heart pain, heart burn, or indigestion.