Heart disease symptoms could include feeling cold in the arms and legs

In the UK around a quarter of deaths every year are caused by cardiovascular disease. This refers to a range of diseases and conditions that affect the heart and circulatory system.

Of these, coronary heart disease is one of the most deadly. It occurs when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.

If not diagnosed and treated, it can prove fatal. Therefore knowing any of the warning signs is vital.

Some symptoms of heart disease are more well known than others. For example, it is common knowledge that it can cause chest pain – also known as angina.

However, other symptoms may be less obvious. They can even affect parts of the body you would not expect.

According to the Mayo Clinic in the US, having cold arms and legs is one such symptom.

It lists “pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the legs or arms” as a sign of coronary heart disease, “if the blood vessels in those body areas are narrowed”.

While this alone might not be enough to signify heart disease, if you experience this along with other symptoms it is worth speaking to your GP.

Other signs include:

  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper belly area or back.

However, it is important to remember that everyone suffers from illnesses differently.

And in the case of heart disease, men and women could have varying experiences.

The Mayo Clinic says: “Coronary artery disease symptoms may be different for men and women.

“For instance, men are more likely to have chest pain. Women are more likely to have other symptoms along with chest discomfort, such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue.”

If you allow any symptoms to continue without getting them checked out your condition could worsen.

The clinic warns: “You might not be diagnosed with coronary artery disease until you have a heart attack, angina, stroke or heart failure.

“It’s important to watch for heart symptoms and discuss concerns with your health care provider.

“Heart (cardiovascular) disease can sometimes be found early with regular health check ups.”

You should seek immediate medical care if you experience:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting.

These could indicate you are having a heart attack.

Some people can be more likely to develop heart disease due to their genetics but lifestyle is a common factor.

The Mayo Clinic adds: “A build-up of fatty plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis) is the most common cause of coronary artery disease.

“Risk factors include a poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity and smoking. Healthy lifestyle choices can help lower the risk of atherosclerosis.”

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