According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent statistics, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women over 35, accounting for one in every four deaths. And it’s common for symptoms of heart disease to go unnoticed or to be dismissed, especially among younger women. Here are a few you should look out for:
1. Bad breath
If you have foul breath — the type caused by gum disease — your heart may also be in trouble. Gum disease promotes inflammation, which in turn stokes heart disease.
2. Swollen ankles
While leg bloating can result from all kinds of things, it can also be caused by a heart valve problem. A build up of fluids is a common symptom of congestive heart failure.
Before you pop a Panadol and shrug off that head pain, know that severe headaches can be symptomatic of a stroke or blood clot, too.
If you’re feeling a level of weakness that you’d previously only experienced when sick with the flu, your heart may be struggling to oxygenate your body.
5. Stomach ache
When you’re feeling those sharp stomach cramps, it’s possible that your heart is radiating pain signals to your stomach.
Fainting is the result of a drop in blood pressure, and that can be brought on by a valve disorder that doesn’t allow proper blood flow, a too slow or too fast heartbeat, or an aortic tear.
That light-headed feeling could result from standing up too quickly, dehydration, etc. But it’s also likely due to artery blockages or valve issues messing with your blood pressure.
8. Back ache
Again, a heart attack isn’t always felt in the heart. If you’re feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure on your upper back, that could be a sign of a heart attack.
(Text: bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting: Natalya Molok)