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While heart disease often develops silently over many years, there are some early warning signs of heart disease you shouldn’t ignore that could indicate a potential problem with your heart health. Here are the top 3 early warning signs of heart disease and steps you can take to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

3 Early warning signs of heart disease

Chest Pain or Discomfort

early warning signs of heart disease

Perhaps the most well-known early sign is chest pain or discomfort. This pain usually feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that may spread to your shoulders, neck, arms, or back. It is important to see your doctor if you experience any recurring chest pain or discomfort, even if it is mild.

Shortness of Breath

Experiencing shortness of breath during activities that should not cause it, such as walking up a flight of stairs, can be an early red flag. Shortness of breath may be related to reduced blood flow and oxygen delivery to the heart muscle.

Pain or Discomfort in the Upper Body

early warning signs of heart disease

Heart disease may also cause pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, or arms. Pay attention to any pain that radiates from your chest to other areas. While not necessarily serious, it is best to ask your doctor about any recurring upper body pain.

Ways to keep your heart health

Ways to keep your heart health
  • Eat a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish. Limit saturated and trans fats, red meat, salt, and sugar.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress and take time to relax
  • Do not smoke or use any tobacco products
  • Maintain a healthy weight by balancing your calorie intake with physical activity
  • Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure levels regularly and work with your doctor to keep them within healthy ranges
  • Limit alcohol intake

Paying attention to potential early warning signs and making lifestyle changes are key steps for keeping your heart as healthy as possible for many years to come. See your doctor right away if you experience any signs discussed.


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