There are many different types of heart problems, but the symptoms and signals that accompany each are relatively similar. Unfortunately, by the time most people start recognizing the signs of heart disease, it’s already caused progressive damage. This means that it is really important to look out for the first signs of heart disease. The lack of diagnosis can severely increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Common Early Heart Disease Symptoms
Angina is the single most important of the first signs of heart disease. It manifests itself as chest pain, although this pain may be characterized as something more like discomfort, heaviness, or pressure. The similarities between the feelings of angina and much less troubling issues such as indigestion or heartburn often lead people to brush off angina pain as insignificant and fail to seek treatment until things become much worse. Some of the other significant first signs of heart disease are shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, sweating and irregular or faster heartbeats.
Familial Hypercholesterolemia and Heart Disease
If there is any history of familial hypercholesterolemia in your family, however, it’s even more important to keep a lookout for the first signs of heart disease. This inherited disorder, which involves an inability to recycle the body’s natural supply of cholesterol properly, leads to aggressive and premature cardiovascular disease. If you inherit this disease from your parents, you must take steps to combat heart disease immediately, even if the early signs of heart disease have not manifested themselves. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with FH are unaware that they have it. If your family history has a pattern of early heart attacks, you and your children should have cholesterol levels tested beginning at the age of two. The earlier interventions are made, the better the chance of avoiding complications is.
Steps for Combating Early Signs of Heart Disease
Whether you have FH or not, you can protect your heart by making a variety of diet and lifestyle changes. Avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet without many saturated and trans fats are important steps to take for healthy hearts. Many people with the signs of heart disease, including just about everyone who has FH, will also need to take some kind of medication. FH patients will need cholesterol-lowering medications, and some may even require a regular procedure to remove cholesterol from the blood.
The FH Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of FH through education, advocacy, and research. The majority of people with FH are unaware that they have it, and without this awareness they cannot take the necessary early steps to handle the first signs of heart disease. Undiagnosed and untreated FH leads to devastating cardiovascular conditions occurring at young ages. Our mission is particularly important because these people need to become aware of FH in order to get tested and save their lives through proactive treatments.