We are marking World Heart Day with a special price offer on heart health checks throughout October. It is a good idea to get your heart checked even if you don’t have symptoms, but below are a few things to look out for that may signal a problem with your heart.
How good is your grip? If you have a weak grip it could be a warning sign as research has found people who find it hard to grasp objects have a higher risk of developing heart disease than those with a strong grip.
Blood spots beneath the fingernails
If you have not injured yourself and develop little spots of blood underneath the finger or toenails it could be a sign that you have an infection in the lining of your heart or heart valves, known as endocarditis. These blood spots could also be a sign that you have diabetes, and people with diabetes are four times more likely to suffer heart disease or stroke.
If your heart is not pumping enough blood to the brain it could be a sign of heart disease. Dizziness could indicate an abnormal heart rhythm. Heart failure – which is a weakening of the heart muscle – can also cause a light-headed feeling.
Erectile dysfunction can be an indication of poor circulation caused by high blood pressure or narrowed arteries from cholesterol build up, both of which put you at greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Women with a lowered libido may also have similar circulation problems.
Discoloured fingers or toes
Blue or grey fingers may be caused by poor circulation due to a heart defect or blocked blood vessels.
The connection between gum disease and heart disease is not fully understood, but there does seem to be a link between the two. It is thought that bacteria from gums gets into the blood stream and may cause inflammation in the heart.
Shortness of breath
If you struggle to breathe while doing normal activity or even lying down it could be a sign of heart failure, an abnormal heart rhythm or even a heart attack. See your doctor immediately. If you also have chest pain call an ambulance.
Swollen lower legs
Fluid build-up in the lower legs could be a sign of poor circulation due to heart failure. This could also be a sign that a clot is blocking the return of blood to the heart. If swelling comes on suddenly seek medical advice immediately.
Feeling tired and drained can by a sign of heart failure. This is because the heart muscle will not be pumping enough to meet the body’s needs.