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If you came to this article wanting advice about romantic heartbreak, then I’m afraid this isn’t the article for you. The heart problems we’re talking about here are physical, medical problems.
Do I have a heart problem?
If you have even the slightest reason to believe there may be a problem with your heart, then you should see a doctor. The sooner you see a doctor, the better.
But how can you tell if you might have a heart problem? The problem here is that there are so many potential signs! When you’re reading through them, try not to worry too much. The possible signs include many things that you may have experienced recently. Some are common. But if they’re happening often, or are causing you inconvenience and pain, get yourself checked out.
The most common sign is chest pain. A strong feeling of pain, pressure or tightness in your chest lasting more than a minute or so could be a sign of heart problems. If the pain spreads from the chest to your throat or your arm, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Frequent dizziness and shortness of breath are also warning signs. Prolonged swelling in the legs, feet and ankles can be a sign that your blood isn’t being pumped around your body properly.
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Another common sign is your heart beating irregularly. This doesn’t mean you should buy a heart rate monitor and start recording everything your heart does! If your heart rate becomes irregular enough, you’ll know for sure. You’ll have no doubt experienced it at some point. There can be a sudden light feeling in your chest, combined with dizziness and shortening of breath. It usually lasts a few seconds. If you feel this often, or if the sensation lasts more than a few seconds, then see a doctor. Chronic irregularity of your heart rate is called arrhythmia, and it’s vital you get this seen to as soon as possible.
Why do I have a heart problem?
It can be hard to determine what exactly causes a heart problem. If you’re reading too many newspapers then it can seem that everything you do can contribute to problems with your heart!
Some issues have very specific causes. Issues with the electrical conduction system of your heart will cause the previously-mentioned arrhythmia. These issues will require specific treatments, so finding the source of the electrical disturbance is key. Going to an electrophysiologist can solve such a mystery. If you have cardiac arrhythmia, consider getting checked by a company Abbott Electrophysiology.
In general, heart problems in later life are caused by long-term inadequate health care. By “health care”, I’m not referring to a government health program. I mean you, looking after your own health! What follows are some of the most common causes of heart problems and what you can do about them, today.
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People often associate smoking with lung problems, but the habit also takes a terrible toll on the heart. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, slowly narrowing them. The carbon monoxide also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood; the smoke fills your blood with toxins, which get into your heart. Smoking will also reduce your ability to maintain fitness; energy levels and stamina are shot by frequent smoking. And if you can’t get adequate exercise then you’re not doing your heart any favours at all!
If you’re a smoker, quit. That is really the best advice we can give here!
The effects of stress in all areas of your life are underestimated by many. Frequent stress increases the levels of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. When there’s too much cortisol coursing through your body, it can cause a host of issues. It messes with your immune function and interferes with memory and concentration. More relevantly, it causes increases in blood pressure and cholesterol. And where there are those things, heart disease is never too far away.
If you’re finding yourself stressed all the time, you should assess why you’re so stressed. What are the causes? Are you not happy with your job? Is a personal relationship causing a strain? Whatever it is, you need to find ways to alleviate the problem. If your job is causing you health problems, you should consider whether it’s worth keeping it.
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This is starting to sound like a very generic “things that are bad for you” list! But it’s important to realise how these things affect your heart. Fatty foods increase your cholesterol, which prevents your veins from doing their job efficiently. Sugary food and drink should also be avoided. Some sugar every now and then is all well and good, but too much will affect your heart. Your body turns all that surplus sugar it doesn’t need into fat. Putting on more fat increase the strain on your heart. It has to pump more blood around your body, a job it’s already doing inefficiently because of cholesterol.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the way! This helps ensure that your heart is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Not sleeping enough
When you sleep, your blood pressure drops. This is important for maintaining heart health! A lot of people are getting less than six hours of sleep a day. This short amount of sleep, over a long period of time, creates problems. When you do this, you don’t give your body enough time to remain in a low blood pressure state. Getting less sleep also increases your stress levels, and can contribute to desires to consume sugar to stay awake.
If your sleep isn’t satisfactory, there are several things you can do. If you drink plenty of tea and coffee, try to cut down. You shouldn’t really be drinking any more than four cups a day, and even that isn’t really recommended. Stay away from caffeinated drinks after 4pm. Another common problem is technology. The use of computers and smartphones before bed means your brain hasn’t been able to wind down before your head hits the pillow. Try reading a book before bed instead!
These things can help you avoid heart problems later in life. They can even help reverse any problems you may already have. Take care of yourself!