Neurological symptoms such as headaches and dizziness can be signs of cardiovascular problems.

6 signs of heart problems unrelated to chest pain

While chest pain is the symptom most commonly associated with cardiovascular problems, there are a range of atypical symptoms that may indicate a heart problem.

High blood pressure, blood clots, arrhythmias, and valve problems can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and jaw pain. Because these symptoms are not so clearly linked to the heart — and are linked to other health conditions — they are often overlooked, causing people to delay urgent, life-saving care.

“The common problem we worry about is chest discomfort, but the truth is that cardiovascular problems can actually be signaled by other symptoms,” Dr. Rigged SalamanderA board-certified cardiologist at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told The Huffington Post.

Here are some symptoms that may indicate heart problems:

tingling or pain in the legs

Calf or lower leg pain — especially when accompanied by swelling — can be caused by a blood clot in the body’s deep veins, according to Tadwalkar.Leg swelling can also occur if the heart has problems pumping blood throughout the body, causing decreased blood flow to the legs.

“Leg pain, even though it appears to be far from the heart, may actually indicate something is going on in the cardiovascular system,” Tadwalkar said.

dizziness or lightheadedness

PhD. Joyce Oen-Hsiao, Cardiologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut, Many dizzy patients have been treated. But it usually takes some detective work to determine what exactly is causing these symptoms.

Abnormal blood pressure—including high or low blood pressure—can cause dizziness. Some people experience palpitations or extra heartbeats, which can trigger dizziness, Oen-Hsiao said.

While many arrhythmias are benign and triggered by factors such as caffeine or menopause, some irregular heartbeats — including those that occur at the bottom of the heart chambers — can be a sign of heart disease or a blocked heart artery, Oen-Hsiao said. .

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Neurological symptoms such as headaches and dizziness can be signs of cardiovascular problems.

severe headache

A severe headache can be a sign of a heart problem. According to Oen-Hsiao, a forehead headache accompanied by pain radiating from the forehead and behind the eyes may indicate that a person has high blood pressure.

“Some people can’t feel their blood pressure, but at a certain point, the blood pressure is a little too high for their brain to handle, and then they get a headache in the forehead and pain behind the eyes,” Oen-Hsiao said.

High blood pressure, which causes headaches, can be a pressing concern, Tadwalkar said.If the pressure is high enough and sustained long enough, it can cause burst of blood vessels.

“It’s helpful to get in touch with your doctor because you want to know if your blood pressure is trending up so you can address it before something like this happens,” Tadwalkar said.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is a symptom associated with many heart diseases.

“Many of the conditions we evaluate and treat are characterized by shortness of breath, and from our perspective — as cardiologists — it’s a very nonspecific symptom, but it’s an important symptom,” Tadwalkar Say.

Shortness of breath, especially with exertion, can be a sign that a person has high blood pressure. Oen-Hsiao said she saw many older women feel short of breath when exercising.

“Once they started exercising, their blood pressure jumped from a normal baseline to very high levels,” and they experienced breathing difficulties, Oen-Hsiao said.

Sudden shortness of breath that worsens with exertion can also be a sign of a blood clot in the lungs.There may be a problem with one of them heart valveHeart Rhythm disorder even heart failureIf the shortness of breath is sudden and severe, or if it gets progressively worse, you need to see a cardiologist, Tadwalkar says.

Feeling severe and sudden shortness of breath, especially with exertion, should be evaluated by a doctor.

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Feeling severe and sudden shortness of breath, especially with exertion, should be evaluated by a doctor.

nausea or decreased appetite

Nausea and loss of appetite can be signs of heart failure. When the heart begins to fail, fluid builds up in the legs and abdomen. When the gut is full of fluid, it also doesn’t absorb nutrients, causing people to lose appetite and feel full all the time, Oen-Hsiao said.

Sometimes nausea and an upset stomach are the only symptoms that people with blocked arteries in the back of the heart will feel.

“A lot of heart attack patients have arteries in the back of the heart, and they don’t actually have chest pain or shortness of breath, they just get really sick and upset stomach,” Oen-Xiao said.

jaw pain and tightness

Some people with cardiovascular disease experience jaw pain and heaviness that radiates from the neck to the jaw and down to the left arm. This is more common when the patient is exercising.

These symptoms could be a sign of a heart attack, but they could also be a sign of angina (a severe blockage), Oen-Hsiao said. People who experience neck and jaw pain should be evaluated by a doctor immediately.

“Chin discomfort and nausea — especially chest discomfort — although it may not appear cardiac at first, should bring someone to the emergency room more urgently,” Tadwalkar said.

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