Heart Health

7 Surprising Signs of an Unhealthy Heart
pain in a neck

We've all read the signs of a heart attack listed on posters in the hospital waiting room. But what if there were other, earlier signs that could alert you ahead of time that your heart was in trouble?

It turns out there are. Researchers have done a lot of work in recent years looking at the signs and symptoms patients experienced in the months or even years leading up to a heart attack. "The heart, together with the arteries that feed it, is one big muscle, and when it starts to fail the symptoms can show up in many parts of the body," says cardiologist Jonathan Goldstein of Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey. Here are seven surprising clues that your heart needs a check. Any of these signs -- and particularly two or more together -- should send you to the doctor for tests.

Sexual problems

Something cardiologists know but the average guy doesn't: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the best early tip-offs to progressive heart disease. "Today, any patient who comes in with ED should be considered a cardiovascular patient until proven otherwise," says Goldstein. In women, reduced blood flow to the genital area can impede arousal, make it harder to reach orgasm, or make orgasms less satisfying.

Scary stat: Researchers at the Mayo clinic followed men ages 40-49 with erectile dysfunction and found they were twice as likely to develop heart disease as those with no sexual health problems. Another study looked backward and found that two out of three men being treated for cardiovascular disease had suffered from erectile dysfunction, often for years, before they were diagnosed with heart trouble.

Why it happens: Narrowing and hardening of the arteries restricts blood flow to the penis, which can give men trouble when it comes to getting or keeping an erection. And because those arteries are smaller than the ones leading to the heart, erectile dysfunction can occur before any other sign of artery stiffness. Lack of oxygen can also lead to ongoing fatigue and weakness, which can sabotage libido, so lack of desire may accompany lack of success.

What to do: If you or your partner has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or has problems with sexual satisfaction, that's reason enough to visit your doctor to investigate cardiovascular disease as an underlying cause. Get a full workup to assess possible causes of erectile dysfunction or difficulty with orgasm. (Guys, see your GP, not just a urologist; gals, don't just see an ob/gyn.) If your doctor doesn't mention heart tests, request them.


about 1 month ago, said...

Hi,im 44years old, and im starting to feel this way, I have axiety everyday ... I dont feel the errection even in the morning... I havent sex with my wife for 3 or 4months now... I read most 7 signs and All of the signs were presence exept of sleep apnea which i dont know... My nose is always stuffy which i blamed it on my sinusitis, but it happen now most of the day.. I dont have problem with night sleep but its on during day time...a little bit of bleeding gums and over a year my teeth begin to have a gap or distorted alighnment...my feel on the right started to feel tiight... I was diagnosed with periperal desease when i was 35 years old when my left feet swell, dr says i dont have good blood serculation in my leg.. This week i went to clinic to have EKG they found that i have sinus trachycardia...a fast heart rate, which i presume due to my axiety... They also found irregularities in my heart beat... Dr. Ask me to have chest xrays and see a cardiologiest.. My 2 shoulder hurts all the time which I thought due to my work as a caregiver, i lift patient most of the time.. I may have shortness of breathing which i could not notice, but there are times i feel running out of air while talking .. Im hopping to see a cardiologiest anytime after the chest xray result... By theway i havent mention that im having a terrible ACID REFLUX and constant heartburn,blooting etc...which was present also in your 7signs.. Im scared to death while reading this 7signs ... My axiety rase to the roof and i feel terrible.. I dont know what to do.. I dont have insurance, i dont have money either to support this.. Im scared for me and my family, my son is still young and needs me... Pls do help me..


7 months ago, said...

EKGs are highly suspect in my opinion and terribly inaccurate. These things are electronic where the graph changes on the least little body movement. You can check that out for your self by using one of those Pulse Oximeters and see how the pulse is very much affected by the slightest movement of your body. I think the medical establishment need to go back to the old way of checking for Arrhythmia and other conditions. Takes much longer but can be trusted more. So the convenience of electronic devices for the sake of speed is not smart because someone's life can be put in jeopardy by given meds they shouldn't have.


7 months ago, said...

interested


7 months ago, said...

good info no pop up ads love it


7 months ago, said...

Very good article for me. And timely too. I made it to 98 years and I still take no prescription medications. I think my time has come. But I am finally getting short of breath on walking a quarter mile. Someone called it "heavy legs." I will see my doc about that. I can appreciate all of you complaining about ED. I can't remember when I had anything better than a plain old wet noodle in the sink. I am talking about 30 years or so.!


7 months ago, said...

Tell me about it . 5 years ago my wife and i were having sex all of a sudden my errection dropped . no matter what i did i could not regain my erection . this went on for 2 years with trying everything movies , magazines , nothing worked . it was driving me crazy because i was always ready at the mear mention of sex , for hours without loseing my erection . 2 years ago i had my physical and my dr looked at my e k g and asked if i knew i had atrial fibrilation . he suggested i see a cardiologist . i ignored his advice for a year but found i had no energy to even walk to the bed room . to make a long story short i wound up having open heart surgery to repair twoo mitral valves plus one bypass last year . its been a long road to recovery but im getting there . and yes , my sex life is back in full swing .


8 months ago, said...

I am 83 years of age and have all these symptoms and am under Cardiovascular Thoracic care and watching. I have, especially, trouble breathing when shopping or exercising more than normal and rest often. I have a pacemaker; am under medication and am wondering if a portable oxygen machine might be helpful? Around the house, I'm fine unless I exercise more than normal, but have improved significantly with the addition of Levothyroxine 50 mcg. and feel much better since taking it.


8 months ago, said...

I am scared to death now, I have all 7 of these Heart attack signs. Wow. Is there a way to come back from this? I am only 41 years old, and this has really put the fear of God in me. Wow. any advise would be great. Thanks, Shaun


8 months ago, said...

Oh please.... My heart has been skipping beats since my 20's and my BP has never gone over 118/80. I've had all the symptoms mentioned here, and all that the hospital ER did was hook me up to an EKG for 15 seconds and tell me to go home.


8 months ago, said...

Doctors and those who manufacture pharma for the doctors are always proclaiming their profit agendas with fear and scare stats. If we eat right, sleep right, think right, and exercise right, the body will function for a long time without all these symptoms. These purveyors of fear would have us believe that the human body needs medical care from the cradle to the grave. How stupid and how stupendous is their manipulation.


9 months ago, said...

Well guess I,ll just have to buy some insurance, my husband has erectile problems, thinks its his blood pressure meds, and won,t ask his female Dr. nothing, now what?


9 months ago, said...

Something I always wanted to know but felt uncomfortable to ask is- I often would have erection fears of not getting and keeping it when ready to have sex with a female. But , If i had a thought about sex with a male,I would never have a problem as I immediately got the erection. Does that ever get brought up with a doctor where a person could be homosexual and their libido is not the same . I am 81 now so not concerned but throughout my life, I have noticed my problem was my wanting to perform and not embarrassed with women. Doctors should ask about homosexual desires if someone told told them they do have erection problems. If it happened to me ---it no doubt happened to others.


9 months ago, said...

While I was in my late teens to early 20's I was living with my mother & step dad & when I tried to go in my room & take care of the male situation my mother would come banging on the door & she told me that she will find out what I am doing when I lock the door so I just quite masterbateing & now have heart trouble, my mother would not give me any privacy to take care of my personal life until I told my Dr.in texas what was going on then she left me alone


9 months ago, said...

Just read your article on the unhealthy heart. Very interesting I go to the VA for my medical problems and I have over half of the symptoms that you have in your article. Should I be looking for a certain DR. to tell these symptoms to?


9 months ago, said...

do women have any signs?


9 months ago, said...

In Feb 2014, I had a heart attack. I had a blockage in the main artery. My dr. put in a stent & have recuperated very good. I just wanted to say I was very lucky with it being the main artery & to let everyone know if in doubt at all, go to the hosp anyway. My pain was all under my arms, across my back & chest. Being a female, our pain seems to be different than men. I never had any of the symptoms that men do. So to the female readers, please pay attention to your body. Read this article completely. Thank you