Heart problems do not always manifest themselves in a typical picture, as we are used to seeing in the movies: a person grabs his chest in the region of the heart with his hand and falls unconscious.
Often the signs that something is wrong with the heart can be completely unexpected symptoms.
Moreover, they may not even be associated with the chest area. We will tell you what symptoms you need to pay attention to in time to prevent a heart attack or detect serious heart disease.
10-The feeling of discomfort in the chest
The most common symptom in diseases associated with the heart. By “chest discomfort” it meant not only pain, but it can also be various unpleasant sensations, etc.
With any unpleasant symptoms localized in the chest area, the doctor must first rule out heart disease. There are several such diseases:
Angina is characterized by severe pain, most often described by patients as a burning sensation, a feeling of pressure in the middle of the chest, accompanied by a fear of death. Symptoms can occur with physical or emotional stress. Attacks last no longer than 15 minutes and disappear after rest and taking heart medications.
- Myocardial infarction.
Pain with necrosis of the heart muscle is more pronounced than with angina and may be accompanied by weakness, nausea, and a sense of doom. Such pain is not relieved by taking heart medications. If pain in the chest area lasts more than 15 minutes, you should call an ambulance.
It is also important to remember that in some cases, myocardial infarction can proceed without pain at all. This happens, for example, with diabetes. Doctors associate this course of a heart attack with changes in nerve fibers (diabetic neuropathy). More often “painless” heart attack develops in women.
- Pulmonary embolism.
Pulmonary embolism by a thrombus in the absence of medical care leads to death. Such a condition can be suspected by the sudden appearance of severe pain in the chest, which is aggravated by movement, and coughing. The pain syndrome is accompanied by shortness of breath. Sometimes there may be a cough, and an admixture of blood is found in the sputum.
- Dissecting aortic aneurysm.
An aortic aneurysm is a pathological protrusion in the aortic wall that develops for many reasons (atherosclerosis, hypertension, congenital defects of the vessel wall). Dissection of an aneurysm occurs when a thin stretched wall in the area of the protrusion (aneurysm) is torn. In this case, blood flows between the layers of the wall and further delamination of the vessel, or a breakthrough of all layers of the wall with massive internal bleeding. The condition is dangerous due to the rapid onset of death.
The pain in this condition is very strong, the nature of the pain can be described as “tearing”, “tearing”, and “burning”. At the same time, it can be difficult for the patient to determine its localization, the pain can change its position, radiating to the neck, arms, legs, stomach, or back. The patient may be agitated or unconscious. Paleness of the skin due to blood loss is characteristic, and blueness of the upper body is due to developing cardiac tamponade (blood in the pericardial sac)
9-Abdominal pain and heartburn
Of course, in most cases, heartburn and abdominal pain signal diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. But in some situations, these may be signs of a developing myocardial infarction. It is noted that such forms of infarction are more often detected in older women. Heartburn or acute pain in the abdomen is recorded with a heart attack that develops on the diaphragmatic surface of the heart. The condition may be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea. There have been cases when patients with acute abdominal pain were taken for surgery with a diagnosis of “acute abdomen”. During the operation, no pathology was found in the abdomen, and further clinical pictures and examinations confirmed the presence of a heart attack in the heart muscle.
8-Pain in various parts of the body
There are atypical forms of myocardial infarction when pain sensations are determined completely in other parts of the body, which contradicts our ideas about the location of the heart.
- Sharp pain in the throat may indicate the development of the laryngeal-pharyngeal form of myocardial infarction;
- The pain may cover the entire left arm or be localized only at the tip of the little finger;
- Sharp pain in the lower jaw occurs with the mandibular form of myocardial infarction;
- The upper vertebral form of a heart attack occurs with localization of back pain in the region of the cervicothoracic spine.
Atypical forms of myocardial infarction often develop in elderly patients with a large number of concomitant diseases, exhaustion, and heart attacks in the past.
With a sudden onset of pain in the above parts of the body, you should call a doctor. A comprehensive examination will confirm or refute the diagnosis of a heart attack.
7-Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is an early symptom of heart failure. Patients note that they began to “suffocate” with little physical exertion or walking, which had not happened before. Later, shortness of breath may occur at rest.
Shortness of breath is accompanied by almost all heart diseases leading to the development of heart failure (arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, myocarditis, heart defects). This symptom is associated with the inability of the heart to perform its functions in full: the contractility of the heart muscle decreases, the pressure in the pulmonary vessels increases, a spasm of small arteries occurs, and a violation of gas exchange develops. Many organs suffer from a lack of oxygen, a signal goes from the brain to the respiratory center, and oxygen starvation is compensated by deep breaths and exhalations, which are manifested by shortness of breath.
In severe chronic heart failure, shortness of breath occurs even at night. A person wakes up at night from an attack of suffocation, he is worried about coughing, and fear of death. This symptom is called “cardiac asthma”. The condition is dangerous because pulmonary edema can develop in one of these attacks, then the death of the patient can occur without emergency therapy.
Unreasonable and sudden onset weakness can develop a few days before a heart attack. The weakness is so pronounced that patients, describing it, say: “I didn’t have the strength to hold a piece of paper between my fingers.”
Weakness at the slightest physical exertion is a symptom of chronic heart failure (CHF). In severe CHF, weakness and shortness of breath can also be observed at rest.
In children, symptoms such as weakness and shortness of breath appear with congenital heart defects. A striking example of this is the symptomatology of severe heart disease – Fallot’s tetralogy. Such children cannot play actively, like ordinary children, from active games they have an asthma attack. During difficulty in breathing, the child squats down – in this position it becomes easier for him, as the load on the heart decreases. After an attack, there is severe weakness.
It would seem, what does snoring have to do with heart disease? Every fifth man snores. But studies by scientists have shown that snoring, being one of the components of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), can contribute to the development of heart disease. OSAS is characterized by the presence of pauses in breathing during sleep, alternating with sonorous snoring. Close relatives of the snorer may notice that after some time his snoring stops, and there is a moment of complete silence, after which the loud sound of snoring resumes. Moments of silence are apnea – short-term pauses in breathing. In severe forms of OSAS, there can be up to 400 such stops per night. This leads to oxygen starvation of the organs, which contributes to the development of hypertension, myocardial infarction, strokes, and sudden death.
He deals with various breathing disorders during sleep in a relatively young branch of medicine – somnology. If among the relatives there are persons with “habitual” snoring, then they must be examined. Especially if the snorer has other risk factors:
- Age over 40;
- Excess body weight;
- Arterial hypertension;
The patient will need to undergo an examination – polysomnography. You can do this in any department dealing with sleep problems. Sleep centers, offices, and sleep laboratories operate in many large cities. The study is registration of indicators of respiratory functions, the work of the heart, the brain, the movement of the muscles of the eyeballs, muscles of the face and limbs, allows you to monitor blood oxygen saturation. This study is carried out during a night’s sleep.
Based on the results obtained by polysomnography, the severity of the disease is established and the question of the method of treatment is decided: conservative or surgical.
Profuse sweating in hot weather or during physical exertion is not a deviation. You should be concerned if the sweat appeared suddenly and is not associated with the above factors. This could be a symptom of a heart attack. At the same time, the sweat is cold and sticky, often accompanied by a disorder in the psycho-emotional sphere – the patient worries about his life, and it seems to him that he will die.
In such a situation, you should immediately call an ambulance.
We are used to the fact that cough is a symptom of a disease of the respiratory system. But sometimes it can indicate heart problems. So, persistent cough, not amenable to treatment with drugs, may indicate the development of heart failure. Most often, it appears at night, accompanied by shortness of breath, and streaks of blood can be seen in the sputum. After coughing, the person feels better.
A sudden attack of suffocation with a strong cough and foamy sputum indicates one of the atypical types of myocardial infarction – an asthmatic variant. More often, this picture is observed when the zone of necrosis is localized in the region of the papillary muscles of the heart.
Edema can appear with various diseases of the kidneys, endocrine organs, and heart. In the latter case, edema occurs when it ceases to cope with its function and blood stasis develops. The liquid part of the blood exits through microscopic holes in the walls of the venous vessels – edema is formed. First of all, they are noticed on their feet. At first, they form in the evening and form in the area of the feet and legs. Often they are not given due attention. Slight swelling is attributed to fatigue and increased stress on the limbs during the day. But as heart failure progresses, the swelling also increases. At first, edema “rises” higher in the limbs, and then can spread to other parts of the body and internal organs. With a severe degree of chronic heart failure, fluid accumulates in the body cavities – abdominal, and pleural. The abdomen can grow to gigantic proportions.
1-Heart rhythm disorders
Rapid heartbeat can develop during excitement, stress, and increased physical activity. This is fine. The appearance of such a symptom at rest is a reason to seek medical help, as this is a sign that something is not right with the heart.
Myocardial infarction can also manifest itself as a rhythm disorder. In this case, they talk about the arrhythmic form of myocardial infarction.
If you find any of the above symptoms in yourself, you need to contact a cardiologist to exclude pathology from the heart and blood vessels.
Acute myocardial ischemia is characterized by the appearance of pressing pain behind the sternum with irradiation to the arm, the appearance of a feeling of fear, panic, and sweating. Feelings of anxiety and internal anxiety may appear even a few days before the event.
This clinical picture is an example of a classic situation often described to students in textbooks. But in the practice of a doctor, there are different options and symptoms of myocardial infarction.
So, for example, with an abdominal variant of myocardial infarction:
- patients often write off abdominal pain as an exacerbation of chronic gastritis or peptic ulcer;
- the appearance of nausea and vomiting, more characteristic of lesions of the gastrointestinal tract, can confuse the patient. He will not even think about possible problems in the work of the heart.
Unfortunately, they seek medical help in such cases late, when time has already been lost and the zone of necrosis, or damage to the heart muscle, is very extensive. As for patients with diabetes mellitus, they are characterized by the so-called “painless myocardial ischemia“. That is, apart from slight weakness and discomfort against the background of episodes of increased blood sugar levels, the patient may not be bothered by anything. It is not uncommon for a patient to learn about a heart attack during an examination by a cardiologist, without even knowing the approximate date of myocardial infarction. In the presence of type 2 diabetes, the risks of developing cardiovascular complications are 4-5 times higher than in peers. Also, smoking, uncontrolled hypertension, and obesity contribute to the development of sudden death.
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