Heart disease is a blanket term that covers a number of heart problems. Heart disease symptoms are medical conditions in their own right. Doctors who suspect heart disease look for the symptoms of high blood pressure and of high levels of glucose and cholesterol in the patient’s blood to check for heart problems.
Unfortunately, these heart disease symptoms rarely exhibit strong signs of their own, so the best way to evaluate a patient for heart problems is regular screening. Those who have predisposing factors like family history, high-stress levels, poor diet or poor exercise habits should be especially diligent about screening for standard heart disease symptoms like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
1. High Blood Pressure
A heart that is not functioning at optimal levels can cause problems with the pressure of the blood in veins and arteries. Usually hypertension or high blood pressure causes no symptoms at all. Some patients get headaches, particularly migraines restricted to one side of the head.
A few have fatigue, vision changes, ringing in their ears, nosebleed or irregular heartbeat. Most have no symptoms at all. This is why everyone should get a blood pressure check periodically. Some people choose to keep track of their blood pressure at home to check for possible heart problems.
Cuffs for blood pressure checks are sold online, in pharmacies and health supply stores and at discount outlets. Such home checks are a great way to watch for heart disease symptoms, but they are no substitute for a visit to a doctor.
Blood pressure readings involve two numbers expressed as a fraction. The systolic pressure is the top number. It represents the pressure of the blood during the contraction of the heart’s left ventricle. Normal systolic pressure rarely gets above 130 milligrams of mercury, or mmHg.
A patient may have pre-hypertension if their systolic reading is frequently above 120 mmHg. Prehypertension may lead to The bottom number of the blood pressure reading is the diastolic reading, the pressure when the heart is relaxed.
Normal diastolic readings are below 80 mmHg, and 90 mmHg is the threshold of prehypertension. Doctors often ask patients who keep track of blood pressure for their last reading and the one before it as well to see if the pressure has changed drastically, as well as the average over time.
2. High Blood Sugar
Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, can be a symptom of heart disease as well as of diabetes. This is so whether or not the patient also has diabetes. Like high blood pressure, there is often no external sign of high blood sugar until it reaches a very serious point.
The concentration of glucose in the blood is considered too high if it exceeds 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), but women in particular are sometimes advised to keep their blood sugar below 100 mg/dL.
This is the fasting reading taken when the patient has not eaten for eight hours.While high blood sugar victims may have no visible symptoms some may get dry mouth and excessive thirst. They may need to urinate frequently, including during the night.
Their skin may become dry and scaly. Fatigue or even drowsiness may occur, with or without blurry vision. Finally, sufferers may experience unexplained weight loss, sometimes in spite of increased appetite.
3. High Cholesterol
Like other heart disease symptoms, high levels of cholesterol in the blood cause very little in the way of obvious signs. Adult patients in good health should have their cholesterol levels evaluated once in five years as a part of a general health screening. Patients who eat convenience foods or fast foods or whose diets are high in dairy products or fatty meats should be evaluated more frequently for high cholesterol.
So should people who smoke, or those who rarely exercise or are above their ideal body weight. All these practices put people at risk for heart disease. High cholesterol can lead to heart problems because excess amounts get deposited in blood vessels along with debris from the bloodstream, including other fats.
If enough of this plaque builds up, it can block small arteries that deliver oxygen to some particular part of the body. If that part happens to be in the brain, the result is a stroke. If the affected part is in the heart, the outcome is heart disease.Heart disease puts patients at risk for heart problems that can lead to heart attacks, stroke and death.
Regular screening for heart disease symptoms is the best way to assess a person’s risk over time. Early detection of heart disease is one of the best paths to a good outcome, and early detection means frequent screening for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.