12 Signs That May Indicate Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, but it often has subtle symptoms. Many people don’t know what to look for until their heart condition becomes serious. Early diagnosis is important to help find treatments and interventions that can extend longevity and improve quality of life. Here are 12 lesser-known signs that may indicate heart disease you should be aware of.

1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pausing and interruption of regular breathing during the night. It can be an early sign of a heart problem. In some cases, sleep apnea can develop independently from heart disease, but cause cardiovascular issues due to a lack of oxygen flow to the heart.

2. Dark Spots Under Nails

Splinter hemorrhages, commonly known as dark spots under the nails, can be a sign of heart disease. They are caused by small blood clots and often signify of problems with the heart valves.

3. Lightheadedness

Feeling lightheaded and dizzy can have many causes, but when it happens frequently, it may be a sign of heart issues. Dizziness signifies that you are not getting enough oxygen to your brain. People with heart failure often experience lightheadedness on an ongoing basis because their hearts aren’t strong enough to pump oxygenated blood to their brains.

4. Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction, specifically erectile dysfunction in men, could be an early sign of heart problems. Problems in the bedroom are often caused by poor circulation or blood pressure issues. Women can also experience lower libidos due to heart issues preventing proper blood circulation.

5. Skin Discoloration

Another unusual sign of heart disease is a bluish tint to the skin, called cyanosis. It usually appears in areas like the fingertips and the lips, indicating a lack of blood flow.

6. Poor Grip Strength

Noticing your grip strength getting weaker? It could be caused by simple aging, but in many cases, your heart health is at play. This symptom has been linked to heart attacks and heart failure and is definitely something you should be looking out for.

7. Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums and other dental issues like swelling and tenderness, are associated with heart disease. One theory is that bacteria from oral infections get into your bloodstream and cause heart problems. Other theories suggest that having circulatory problems shows up in your gums more prominently than other areas.

8. Dark Skin Patches

Acanthosis nigricans, characterized by dark patches of skin, usually around the neck and armpits, is also a sign you should be paying attention to. Most often it is associated with diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

9. Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath is a well-known sign of heart-related issues. Having difficulty breathing during normal everyday activities such as walking or cleaning the house may indicate heart failure or coronary artery disease.

10. Leg Swelling

Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet is another classic symptom of heart disease. Most often, it happens when you are sitting or standing for a long period of time. It can be caused by clots in your veins as well as poor circulation caused by heart failure.

11. Fatigue

Being excessively tired and exhausted can have many different causes, one of which is heart disease. If your heart isn’t able to pump fresh blood through your veins, every cell in your body can feel fatigued. If you have chronic fatigue, definitely get it checked out by your doctor.

12. Bumpy Rash

A rare and unusual symptom, a bumpy rash around your knuckles can be caused by dangerously high triglyceride levels, which are known to cause coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, but they shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you are experiencing multiple things at once. Early detection of heart conditions is instrumental in getting you the right treatment to maintain a healthy life.