Heart disease is an umbrella term that includes many different cardiovascular conditions. While its signs, symptoms, and side effects may vary from person to person, it is always considered a serious medical diagnosis. Patients can help reduce their risk of heart disease through a series of lifestyle changes, including exercise and a nutritious diet. Because heart disease is one of the leading medical risks in Texas, it is more important than ever that its residents have a health care plan that covers and supports heart health.
Take some time to review the most common signs and symptoms of heart disease and stay prepared with preventive care that equips you with the tools to live a healthy and productive life.
The First Signs of Heart Disease
As you familiarize yourself with the early symptoms of heart disease, you can better identify when to seek care. They can help you identify common issues that lead to heart disease and offer a personalized treatment plan to relieve symptoms before they become life-threatening.
Some of the initial signs of heart problems can include:
Difficulty Breathing: Shortness of breath may occur due to the heart’s inability to pump the necessary amount of blood throughout the body. This blood can get backed up in the veins and arteries, which are meant to carry it out to your heart. The buildup causes excess fluid to spill into your lungs, making each breath feel strained. You may have a tough time breathing during times of high activity or while lying on your back.
Pain in the Chest: Chest pain is one of the most common signs of heart trouble and, according to the American Heart Association, a symptom of an oncoming heart attack. Chest pain can also be a sign of something unrelated to heart disease, so it is best to seek medical advice from your primary care physician immediately. Different types of chest pain can indicate a number of cardiovascular issues. Angina, for example, is a type of chest pain that comes from improper blood flow to the heart. Whether mild or crushing, sharp or burning, chest pain indicates the body is reacting to blood flow complications near the heart.
Fatigue: This symptom occurs more commonly in women rather than men. However, everyone is susceptible to this symptom of cardiovascular failure and other heart-related conditions. If you are feeling more fatigued than usual, you should visit your doctor to assess whether or not your sudden weakness could be a result of an imminent heart attack.
Sudden Swelling: Swelling is an indicator that your blood is not flowing optimally. Heart problems often occur when your blood flow is impacted by a clog, preventing it from traveling to other parts of your body. Your extremities, such as your arms and legs, are typically the first to experience the symptoms of swelling. This swelling can also travel to your stomach or abdomen, causing newfound weight gain that may also indicate circulatory issues.
Heart Palpitations: When the heart can’t pump blood efficiently, it may try to increase blood flow by beating faster. This can cause palpitations that result in a throbbing feeling in the chest. Heart palpitations can be an indicator of a condition known as atrial fibrillation, although it may also be your body’s response to stress. It can feel as though your heartbeats are irregular, which may affect your breathing as well. Heart palpitations may also be accompanied by anxiety or a growing sense of panic as it becomes difficult to regulate your breathing.
These symptoms can appear simultaneously or individually. If these symptoms occur, it’s recommended that you visit your primary care physician for a heart exam right away.
Take a Proactive Approach to Heart Health
Upon recognizing the early signs of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician. Your primary care physician may refer you to a heart specialist for further treatment. Depending on the type of heart condition and the severity of symptoms present, medications may be prescribed to reverse some of the most pressing effects on your heart health.
Members of the employer-sponsored Curative Health Plan can access comprehensive health care services as soon as they join the plan, and those who complete their Baseline Visit* within the first 120 days of plan effective date will have $0 copays, $0 deductibles, and $0 out-of-pocket costs for all in-network care.
Curative Health Plan members can also access next-generation health care services like virtual urgent care, 24/7/365 member support, and low or no-cost prescription drugs through our partnership with NormanMD**. Get preventive health coverage throughout every step of the health care journey by asking your employer about the Curative health plan today.
*Curative members are eligible for $0 copays and $0 deductibles if they complete a Baseline Visit within 120 days of plan effective date.
**Healthcare provided through the NormanMD network of medical providers. Treatment options and eligibility determinations made by independent licensed medical providers.
**Patients experiencing a medical emergency or who have concerns about their medical situation should call 911 (or the local emergency number) immediately.
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