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Heart Disease Health Center

12 Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore

Don't miss these 12 warning signs that something is amiss with your heart.
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12 Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore continued...

Women, more so than men, can also experience a burning sensation in their chest, rather than a pressure or pain.  "Sometimes people make the mistake that the pain comes from a stomach problem," says Nieca Goldberg, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and another expert on women's heart symptoms.

3. Cough. Persistent coughing or wheezing can be a symptom of heart failure -- a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs. In some cases, people with heart failure cough up bloody phlegm.

4. Dizziness. Heart attacks can cause lightheadedness and loss of consciousness.  So can potentially dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities known as arrhythmias.

5. Fatigue. Especially among women, unusual fatigue can occur during a heart attack as well as in the days and weeks leading up to one. And feeling tired all the time may be a symptom of heart failure.

Of course, you can also feel tired or fatigued for other reasons. How can you tell heart-related fatigue from other types of fatigue?

"If you don't feel well and all the wind is knocked out of your sails, don't try to figure it out on the Internet or from a book," says Goldberg.  "Wasting time is dangerous."

6. Nausea or lack of appetite. It's not uncommon for people to feel sick to their stomach or throw up during a heart attack. And abdominal swelling associated with heart failure can interfere with appetite.

7. Pain in other parts of the body. In many heart attacks, pain begins in the chest and spreads to the shoulders, arms, elbows, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen. But sometimes there is no chest pain -- just pain in these other body areas like one or both arms, or between the shoulders.  The pain might come and go.

8. Rapid or irregular pulse. Doctors say that there's usually nothing worrisome about an occasional skipped heartbeat. But a rapid or irregular pulse -- especially when accompanied by weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath -- can be evidence of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. Left untreated, some arrhythmias can lead to stroke, heart failure, or sudden death.

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