A heart attack is not a disease, but rather a symptom of a bigger underlying problem of blocked arteries. But it is rarely possible to catch symptoms of a symptom (the heart attack), which creates great challenges in keeping ahead of the disease. Cardiovascular diseases can cause great damage to the heart and it is necessary to act fast to minimize fatalities.
How do I know if I have cardiovascular disease?
The symptoms of cardiovascular disease depend on the specific disease you have. But the most common is coronary heart disease, which is often manifested through the heart attack. General symptoms for heart attacks are:
- A shooting pain down the arm, particularly the left arm
- Pain in the neck and jaw
The symptoms are sometimes compared to the feeling of indigestion.
You don't have to feel all symptoms for it to be a heart attack; just one symptom could be enough. Of course some of the symptoms like “sweating” may easily be caused by something else, but it is important to pay attention to the signs.
In some cases a heart attack can appear without any symptoms. These heart attacks are called silent myocardial infarctions and they tend to appear more often in patients with diabetes.
Another common symptom of an underlying heart condition is a stroke, which happens when something is wrong with the blood vessels supplying the brain.
Symptoms of a stroke include:
- The face might loose muscle strength causing the face or mouth to droop on one side or not being able to smile.
- The arms might also loose muscle strength and the person in question may not be able to lift their arm(s).
- Speech may be affected causing the person in question to have slurred or confused speech.
These three symptoms identify roughly 9 out of 10 cases of strokes. There are other less obvious and less common signs such as; a sudden loss of vision, dizziness, severe headaches, paralysis of one side of the body, poor balance and coordination.