Listen to Your Heart: Learn the Symptoms and Risk Factors of CVD

Listen to Your Heart: Learn the Symptoms and Risk Factors of CVD

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Jan 6, 2015, at 9:49 pm


HEART DISEASE IS A COMPLEX ARRAY OF DISEASES – such as a heart attack – that are often related to a process known as atherosclerosis, which occurs when buildup plaque becomes concentrated on the narrows of the arteries, furthering the narrowing of the arteries. Often, this forms blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. Some other types of
cardiovascular disease (CVD) include heart valve problems, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, enlarged heart, heart muscle disease, Marfan syndrome, pericarditis and coronary artery disease.

heart with stethoscope wrapped around it

Are you aware of the symptoms and risk factors of CVD? Although some of the symptoms may be obvious to some, there have been various studies that prove that many people are unaware of the signs of heart related diseases. Symptoms include:

• Angina

• Breathlessness

• Pain, numbness, coldness and weakness in legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts are narrowed

• Pain in neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

Aside from these symptoms, heart disease symptoms can also occur from abnormal heartbeats. Some of these include fluttering in the chest, tachycardia, bradycardia, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting. Heart disease brings even more obvious symptoms like cyanosis, and swollen legs, hands, ankles and feet. Unfortunately, heart disease brings an extensive list of symptoms, especially because everyone’s heart is different.

Last spring, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute conducted a
study in which researchers collected a sample of 1,654 responses from telephone and online sources from Canadian women older than age 25. The women simply responded to a series of question regarding the symptoms and risk factors of CVD. They were also evaluated on their ability to identify the preventative measures from a provided list of possible actions. At the end of the survey, the researchers asked the women how confident they felt on their knowledge of CVD.

The results were shocking. Less than 50 percent of the women were able to identify the most prevalent symptoms of CVD.

• 43 percent were able to indicate chest pain as a symptom

• Shortness of breath – 38 percent

• Pain in neck, shoulder or arm – 29 percent

When assessing the risk factors, the most commonly indicated factors were obesity, sedentariness and tobacco use. As expected, more women thought they were well informed of the symptoms of CVD. Researchers also concluded about 40 percent of women were at a
high risk for CVD based on self-report.

It is obvious that more people everywhere should be more aware of the symptoms and risk factors of CVD. Become aware and tell a friend, you could save a life!

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

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