By Elizabeth Sukys-Rice
Signs of Heart Disease
Early heart disease often doesn’t have symptoms, or the symptoms may be barely noticeable. This is especially true in older adults. That’s why regular checkups with your doctor are important.
Contact your doctor right away if you feel any chest pain. However, as you get older, chest pain is a less common sign of heart disease, so be aware of other symptoms. Tell your doctor if you feel:
•Pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back
•Shortness of breath when active or at rest
•Chest pain during physical activity that gets better when you rest
•Easily tired or fatigued
•Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, stomach, and/or neck
•Less able to exercise or be physically active
•Problems doing your normal activities
Problems with a rapid or irregular heartbeat are much more common in older adults than younger people and need to be treated. See a doctor if you feel a fluttering in your chest or have the feeling that your heart is skipping a beat or beating too hard, especially if you are weaker than usual, dizzy, or tired.
If you have any signs of heart disease, your doctor may send you to see a cardiologist, a doctor who specializes in the heart.
Heart Attack? Call 911
Act in time: Learn the warning signs of a heart attack. If you or someone you know might be having a heart attack, call 911 right away. You need to take an ambulance to the hospital as soon as possible. Do not try to drive yourself, and do not have someone else drive you unless there is no ambulance service where you live. The sooner you get to a hospital, the more can be done to stop any damage.
These warning signs can include crushing chest pain and/or discomfort or pain elsewhere in the upper body, neck or arms, nausea, a cold sweat, fainting or lightheadedness, or shortness of breath.
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