Today heart disease is America’s number one killer, but, unlike many diseases, there isn’t a specific age to start screening for heart or vascular disease. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a cardiologist if you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease or you are exhibiting symptoms that suggest that it may already be present.
Nearly half of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity or an unhealthy diet. Risk also increases with age.
While our First Coast Heart & Vascular physicians are your partners in heart health, you are your own best advocate. Become familiar with the risk factors and the symptoms of heart and vascular problems. Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your health and don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of First Coast Heart & Vascular Center’s physicians today. If you experience any of the following symptoms of heart or vascular system disease:
- Angina (chest pain).
- Shortness of breath.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Weakness, slurred speech, dizziness, coldness, numbness or pain in the arms or legs.
- Pain in the throat, jaw, neck, upper abdomen or back.
- Note: Men usually have chest pain whereas women often experience extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and/or nausea.
- Swelling of the legs or abdomen.
- Heart infection (pericarditis, myocarditis, endocarditis).
Vascular disease deals with the circulatory system outside of your heart. Vascular disease is frequently called a silent threat since the symptoms of vascular disease may be sudden or may not present themselves at all. Talk with your physician if you have any of the risk factors shown below, to find out if you are a candidate for a vascular screening test.
- Peripheral vascular disease; uncontrolled hypertension, excessive muscle cramping, limb weakness, numbness, cold feet or hands, discoloration of legs ulcers in hands or legs, claudication (pain in the legs when walking), extremity hair loss or muscle wasting, abdominal pain with eating and weight loss or swelling of the legs.
- TIA (Transischemic Attack or mini-stroke)
- Pulmonary Embolism (clots in the lungs)
- Clots in the legs or arms
People with heart disease may present with symptoms such as an abnormal heartbeat or arrhythmia. Some of the symptoms include:
- Palpitation or “racing of the heart”
- Slow heartbeat
- A “fluttering” feeling in the chest
- Pain or discomfort in the chest area
- Lightheadedness (even fainting)
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation
- Extra heartbeats or PVC (premature ventricular contractions)
- Graying of the skin or turning blue
- SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia)
We work in harmony with your primary care physician to deliver diagnosis and treatment of all stages of heart and vascular disease. The following are health conditions that may put you at risk for a life-changing occurrence:
- Aneurysms (abdomen, arms, legs) in both arteries and veins
- Atrial fibrillation or any heart rhythm problem
- “Clots” or DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) in extremities (arms, legs) or even in the heart
- Diabetic issues
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart valve disease (valve malfunction causing to be either leaky or blocked)
- High cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease)
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Swollen legs
- Shortness of breath, angina or chest pain
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or mini stroke
- Varicose veins, spider veins, or leg ulcers due to vein disease.