“How could Mr XYZ just slump and die of a heart disease like that? He looked so healthy and young.”
We hear this statement way too often because there are some unknown clues to heart disease that people don’t pay attention to. Here are 10 of them.
1. Loose grip
The strength in your hand may tell you something about the state of your heart. Research suggests that if it’s hard for you to grip an object properly, odds are higher that you have or could develop problems. On the other hand, improving your grip strength alone won’t necessarily make your heart healthier.
2. Dark Spot Under Nails
If you haven’t hit your finger or toe against something recently, little dots of blood trapped under your nail could point to an infection in the lining of your heart or valves, called endocarditis. These blood specks can also indicate diabetes, and people with that condition are two to four times more likely to have heart disease and strokes.
3. Sleep Apnoea
When your sleep is broken up by pauses in your breathing it usually means that your brain may not be getting enough oxygen. This sends signals to your heart to work harder to keep blood flow going. Sleep apnoea raises your risk for high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, strokes, and heart failure. Fortunately, sleep apnoea is treatable.
4. Skin Colour Changes
Sudden changes in the colour of your fingers and toes could be from poor circulation of oxygen-rich blood, often due to a heart defect you were born with or narrowed or blocked blood vessels.
5. Sexual Problems
Men with erectile dysfunction may have circulation problems related to high blood pressure or narrow arteries due to cholesterol build-up and are at a greater risk for heart attack/stroke. For women, these blood-flow problems can also lessen libido and their ability to enjoy intercourse.
6. Bleeding Gums
The link between gum disease and heart disease has been debated for years but studies suggest that bleeding, swollen, or tender gums may lead to trouble with your heart. One theory is that bacteria from your gums can find their way into your bloodstream and set off inflammation in the heart.
7. Swelling In Lower Legs
This happens when you stand or sit for a long time, and it’s also common during pregnancy. However, fluid build-up can also stem from heart failure and poor circulation in your legs. In addition, swollen legs could be from a clot that’s blocking the return of blood from your lower limbs to your heart. Call your doctor right away if swelling comes on suddenly.
We know this sounds scary, like anything can lead to a heart attack. However, the goal isn’t to cause panic but to help us become more aware of the changes in our body. When you really think about it, that’s a good thing.