Feeling this during a workout could mean heart trouble.
If you were asked to paint a picture of the classic heart disease symptom, you’d probably show a person in distress, clenching their chest. And you’d be right. Tightness or pressure in the chest is the most common well-known sign of coronary heart disease—but it’s not the whole picture.
When heart attack patients come in to see Satjit Bhusri, MD, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, he says they’re often surprised that they didn’t feel any chest pain. “You really have to dig deeper and go beyond the chest pain notion. That’s one deceptive part of coronary artery disease that we’re really finding now, and that we’re catching more of. Going beyond the scope of the classic ‘I just have chest pain or pressure,’” says Dr. Bhusri.
One Heart Disease Symptom That Most People Miss
So besides chest pain, what other symptoms should you be looking out for? “One symptom that is commonly missed that people should be aware of is a sudden decline in your exercise tolerance,” says Dr. Bhusri. For instance, if walking up a hill or stairs becomes more troublesome, if you’re noticing shortness of breath during physical activity, or if activities of daily living become more of a battle for you, that could be early signs of worsening coronary artery disease, says Dr. Bhusri.
Other sneaky symptoms might include pain or pressure in the neck, arms, jaw, shoulder, or back, or pain that mimics indigestion. (Learn about other tell-tale signs of coronary heart disease here.)
“If you notice your exercise endurance has been decreasing over a period of a few weeks, instead of waiting for your heart attack to wake you up from your sleep, you should go to the doctor when you begin to have these symptoms,” says Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director at NYU Langone Health in New York.
The earlier you get tested, the earlier your doctor can catch a clogged artery and help prevent a heart attack. Also critical: Make these lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease.
Dr. Goldberg is a cardiologist and medical director of the NYU Langone Health Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health.Satjit Bhusri
Dr. Bhusri is an attending cardiologist at the Lenox Hill Heart & Vascular Institute and an assistant professor of cardiology at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.
00:00:00,012 --> 00:00:02,961
00:00:02,961 --> 00:00:06,590
The most common symptom of coronary
artery disease is tightness or
00:00:06,590 --> 00:00:07,900
pressure in the chest.
00:00:07,900 --> 00:00:10,420
Sometimes you don't have those symptoms.
00:00:10,420 --> 00:00:16,126
00:00:16,126 --> 00:00:20,859
One symptom that is commonly
missed that people should be aware
00:00:20,859 --> 00:00:25,020
of is a sudden decline in
your exercise tolerance.
00:00:25,020 --> 00:00:30,020
That is all of a sudden walking up
a hill becomes more troublesome to you,
00:00:30,020 --> 00:00:31,500
you get more short of breath.
00:00:31,500 --> 00:00:35,630
Activities of daily living
become more of a battle for you.
00:00:35,630 --> 00:00:40,740
These could be signs of, early signs
of worsening coronary artery disease.
00:00:40,740 --> 00:00:45,960
If you've been noticing your
exercise endurance has been decreasing
00:00:45,960 --> 00:00:48,800
over a period of a few weeks.
00:00:48,800 --> 00:00:54,060
Instead of waiting for your heart
attack to wake you up from your sleep,
00:00:54,060 --> 00:00:57,930
you should go to the doctor when
you begin to have these symptoms.
00:00:57,930 --> 00:01:02,400
Because, with early testing, we can
find out if you have a clogged artery or
00:01:02,400 --> 00:01:05,110
not and open it up,
preventing the heart attack.
00:01:05,110 --> 00:01:07,950
The most common presentation I have for
00:01:07,950 --> 00:01:12,350
patients who come in with heart attacks,
is that, well, I didn't feel a chest pain.
00:01:12,350 --> 00:01:17,260
You really have to dig deeper and say,
go beyond the chest pain notion, and
00:01:17,260 --> 00:01:19,650
really ask detailed history.
00:01:19,650 --> 00:01:24,640
Were you having sweats without doing
anything beyond usual working out?
00:01:24,640 --> 00:01:29,370
So that's one deceptive part of coronary
artery disease that we're really
00:01:29,370 --> 00:01:32,190
finding now, and we're catching more of.
00:01:32,190 --> 00:01:37,439
Going beyond the scope of the classic,
I just have chest pain or chest pressure.
00:01:37,439 --> 00:01:43,299