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When to Call the Doctor About Heart Disease

When caring for a person with heart disease, it is important to know which symptoms require a call to the doctor. If you notice any of the symptoms described below in the person you are caring for, call the doctor as soon as possible. In case of an emergency, keep the doctor's phone number nearby.

  • A feeling of fullness (bloating) in the stomach with a loss of appetite or nausea
  • Extreme fatigue or decreased ability to complete daily activities
  • A respiratory infection or a cough that has become worse
  • Fast heart rate (above 100 beats per minute)
  • New, irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain or discomfort during activity that is relieved with rest
  • Difficulty breathing during regular activities or at rest
  • Changes in sleep patterns, including difficulty sleeping or feeling the need to sleep a lot more than usual
  • Decreased urination
  • Restlessness, confusion
  • Constant dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or poor appetite

 

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I had my first heart attack 26 years ago, when I was 52. I was very active then, sometimes jogging and often walking long distances. But I was also on the congressional staff in Washington, and the day leading up to the attack was even more hectic than usual. My boss was introducing major legislation, and I had crafted an important floor speech. I didn’t have time for regular meals and ate a huge cheeseburger for dinner, then smoked three or four cigarettes. It happened about 3 in the morning...

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When Should My Loved One Go to the Emergency Room?

Call 911 if he or she has:

  • New chest pain or discomfort that is severe, unexpected, and occurs with or without shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or weakness
  • Fast heart rate (more than 150 beats per minute) -- especially if he is short of breath, too
  • Shortness of breath NOT relieved by rest
  • Sudden weakness or paralysis (inability to move) in the arms or legs
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Fainting spell with loss of consciousness

Call your doctor with any other concerns you may have about a loved one's condition.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on February 24, 2014
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