Heart disease affects millions of Americans every year and is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States . Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore signs and symptoms until it’s too late to reverse the damage to the heart and cardiovascular system. In many cases, the outcome can even be fatal. Identifying heart disease symptoms early and seeking treatment right away can help you live your healthiest life. Here’s what you need to know about heart disease:
Common Symptoms of Heart Disease
Because heart health is so important to a person’s overall wellbeing, it’s vital you pay attention to signs that there could be something wrong. Here are some common symptoms of heart disease that should not be ignored:
Pressure or tightness in the chest
Heart fluttering or palpitations
Sharp chest pain
Feeling out of breath
Sudden nausea, heartburn or stomach pains
Pain or numbness in the arms or shoulders
Pain or discomfort in the jaw or throat
Swelling in any or all parts of the body
Chronic coughing with bloody mucus
If you’re experiencing some or all of these symptoms, it could be a sign that you’re suffering from heart disease. However, if you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your chest, shortness of breath and dizziness at the same time, you should seek immediate help because you may be having a heart attack and need medical attention as soon as possible.
Apart from these symptoms, remember that you know your body best. If you suspect something could be wrong due to changes in how you’re feeling, don’t ignore these subtle signs! It could be time for preventative health measures, such as a heart CT scan, to verify the status of your heart health so that you can take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
Several factors can contribute to your risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, the three major risk factors for heart disease  include increasing age, gender and heredity. People who are 65 or older, male, have a family history of heart disease or are part of a high-risk ethnic group are more prone to heart disease. These major risk factors cannot be changed, so it’s crucial to stay on top of your heart health as much as possible if you fall into one of these categories.
Modifiable risk factors also play a role in your chances of developing heart disease, although they can be treated or controlled. You are at higher risk of developing heart disease if you:
Have high cholesterol
Have high blood pressure
Are physically inactive
Are overweight or obese
Making positive lifestyle changes can help prevent or reverse some of these heart disease risk factors. Changing your diet, losing weight, exercising more, and taking other preventative measures can significantly lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Preventing Heart Disease
When heart disease becomes critical, it could be too late to intervene and make a full recovery. Taking proactive steps to stop heart disease before it starts or to catch it in the very early stages is the best way to ensure a happy and healthy life. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can prevent heart disease and improve your cardiovascular health.
1. Preventative Heart Health Screenings
Knowing the status of your heart health will help you make more informed and proactive decisions. Having a low-dose heart CT scan done, especially if you’re at higher risk for heart disease, will measure the amount of calcium in your arteries. This measurement, known as a coronary calcium score, will give you an accurate picture of how healthy your cardiovascular system is. The higher your calcium score, the more at risk you are for a heart attack.
2. Exercise Regularly
The more active you are, and the more consistent you are with your exercise routine, the better your cardiovascular health! Exercise helps to improve your circulation, balance blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, lower stress levels and lift a person’s overall mood. Even something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a few times a week can have a significant positive impact on your heart.
3. Eat a Healthier Diet
Diet plays a major role when it comes to heart health. If your diet is high in fats, sugar and sodium, it can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as contribute to obesity. These are all heart disease risk factors that can be controlled by adding more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and water to your diet.
4. Take Steps to Break Bad Habits
Smoking cigarettes and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your heart. The best thing you can do is get help to break these habits before your cardiovascular health suffers as a result.
Make Your Heart Health a Priority
Making changes to your lifestyle to improve your heart health isn’t always easy, but it could mean the difference between suffering a heart attack or living a long, healthy life. At Preventative Diagnostic Center in Las Vegas, we want to help you take control of your heart health with a preventative heart CT scan. Knowing where you stand today will help you make the best decisions for your future. Detecting heart disease early is the best way to reverse cardiovascular damage and successfully treat the issue before it becomes critical.
If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms of heart disease or have a history of high-risk factors, it’s time to make a change. Contact Preventative Diagnostic Center to learn more about our low-dose heart CT scans and how it can help you take the steps you need to prevent heart disease in the future.
Dr. John J. Pierce is the Medical Director at Preventative Diagnostic Center. He is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Board-certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He received his medical training from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in Pomona California. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to his regular practice, Dr. Pierce serves as a Tactical Physician with the Las Vegas SWAT team.