Heart disease kills over 610,000 Americans annually. If you’ve experienced a heart attack, or open-heart surgery to restore the health of your arteries, it’s vital that you make changes to your lifestyle to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
For those living with the risk of heart disease due to a sedentary lifestyle, exercise and changes to your diet are necessary to avoid the onset of heart disease. However, working out can also induce a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack.
Here are six warning signs of heart disease or dysfunction that you may experience during exercise. If you find yourself dealing with any of these symptoms, consult with a medical professional right away.
1. Chest Pain
Cardiovascular events occur with different intensity and time periods. Typically, a heart attack will begin with a tight feeling in the chest that spreads throughout the arm, causing a dull, throbbing pain that intensifies over time. However, some heart attacks may occur suddenly as a sharp pain that grips your heart causing shortness of breath.
If you experience either of these symptoms, it’s vital that you stop exercising and seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
2. Lightheadedness or Dizzy Spells
It’s typical for exercise to induce feelings of fatigue and tired muscles. However, a sense of lightheadedness is not a traditional symptom of exercise induced-stress on the body. This feeling is a warning signal that your brain is not receiving adequate circulation of blood due to cardiovascular malfunction. Stop exercising and seek treatment immediately.
3. Pain in other Areas
Heart issues don’t just cause pain in the chest; they can create sensations of pain in other areas of the body as well. You may feel a throbbing in your inner thigh or experience pain in your jaw and shoulders that spreads to other areas.
4. Shortness of Breath
Chest pain is not the only symptom of heart attack. A feeling of shortness of breath is a critical sign of heart attack that you shouldn’t ignore. As the heart begins to malfunction, the body can’t receive the oxygen it needs to maintain physical exertion. This effect results in shortness of breath that’s a pre-event to a heart attack. Stop exercising immediately and call for help.
5. Abnormal Heart Rhythm
Heart palpitations are a common cardiovascular event that happens in healthy individuals as well as people at risk of heart attack. This occurrence may not be a cause for concern, but its best to stop exercising and let your heart return to its resting rate. Call for assistance if you notice any irregularity after you’ve ended your workout.
6. Dysfunctional Sweating
Sweating is a normal part of working out. However, if you begin to experience cold sweating, this could be a sign of a cardiovascular event. Stop exercising and seek medical attention.
Wrapping Up – Stay Prepared
When you arrive at the emergency room or your doctor’s office, a physician will diagnose your condition by reviewing your symptoms and the cause of events surrounding the situation. You’ll need to be prepared to answer the following questions.
- What activity were you doing when the symptoms started?
- When did the pains or symptoms start?
- Did you experience sudden, sharp pain, or did it intensify with time and your effort?
- Were there any concurrent symptoms that accompanied the pain, such as dizzy spells or nausea?
- On a scale of 1 to 10-how would you describe the intensity of the pain when you first noticed it and compared to what your feeling now?
Being prepared with your answers will save your doctor valuable time in your diagnosis, and it could save your life. Another means of hedging for a cardiovascular event is the use of a wearable medical device during your training.
These devices record your heart rate and blood pressure while you’re working out. Your doctor can use the information to provide an accurate diagnosis. Read an expert’s reviews on these devices and select the option that suits your lifestyle and needs.