Heart and circulatory disease is among the biggest killers in the UK. The term for conditions and illnesses such as coronary heart disease, strokes and heart failure, is linked to around a quarter of all deaths in the region.
Of these, coronary heart disease is among the most dangerous. It occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is blocked or reduced.
This puts extra strain on the organ and can result in angina, heart failure or a heart attack. As with any serious illness, early detection of coronary heart disease could be life-saving.
Therefore, being aware of any of the potential symptoms is key. While some signs of heart disease are more well known than others, some are less obvious.
According to the NHS, one such sign could appear while you are breathing.
Experiencing a shortness of breath is often linked with poor fitness or conditions like asthma. However, it could be a tell-tale sign of coronary heart disease.
This symptom might make it difficult to catch your breath, and like you can’t get enough air into your lungs. It makes breathing difficult and uncomfortable.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains why this happens. It says: “If your heart isn’t pumping enough oxygen-containing blood around the body, your body responds by breathing faster to try to get more oxygen into your body, making you feel short of breath.
“Or if your heart isn’t working as well as it should, this could cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. ”
This could be worsened by physical activity. It can also “feel frightening”. You may start having thoughts like “I’m going to die” or “I’m upset people are seeing me like this,” the BHF adds.
The other main signs of coronary heart disease are:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Pain throughout the body
- Feeling faint
- Feeling sick (nausea).
If you experience any symptoms of heart disease you should seek medical help. But if you think you or someone else is suffering from a heart attack you should call 999.
Signs of a heart attack include:
- Pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is travelling from your chest to your arms, jaw, neck, back or stomach
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