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Unexpected Indicators of Heart Health

Posted by Dan Cromar on 8/19/2015
Most people think of things like obesity and chest pains as indicators of possible heart problems; however, there are other signs that you may be missing. The following are some unexpected symptoms that may indicate you have potentially serious cardiovascular issues:

Blemishes Around the Eyelids

Raised yellow lumps at the inner and outer corners of your eyes are a warning sign of possible heart disease. These lumps are deposits of cholesterol. This is the same cholesterol that can clog arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Individuals with cholesterol deposits under the skin have a 39 percent higher risk of developing heart disease.

Sexual Problems:

Erectile dysfunction in men and the inability to reach orgasm in women is often the earliest indicator of possible heart disease. Narrowing and hardening of the arteries limits the blood flow to the genital area causing sexual dysfunction. The problem can also affect the arteries leading to the heart. Studies show that men with erectile dysfunction have a 50 percent greater likelihood of developing heart disease. One study showed that nearly 66 percent of men experienced erectile dysfunction for years before being diagnosed with heart disease. 

Loud Snoring:

Your partnerís loud snoring may be doing more than keeping you awake at night. Loud snoring may be a symptom of sleep apnea. A person with sleep apnea will stop breathing for extended periods while sleeping. This causes the oxygen level in the blood to drop. The right side of the heart is damaged because it has to compensate by beating harder to get oxygen to the lungs and other organs. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed through a sleep study that may be performed at home or in a sleep lab.

Bleeding Gums:

You may think that your swollen or bleeding gums are only a problem for your dentist; however, these symptoms may indicate more than periodontal disease. Scientists believe that poor circulation associated with cardiovascular problems may lead to gum disease. There may also be a link between the bacteria causing gum disease and the build-up of plaque in arteries. Chronic gum disease also results in prolonged inflammation that has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular health.

Small Legs:

Studies show that individuals with skinny legs are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke. You are more likely to develop plaque in your carotid arteries if your calves measure less than 13 inches. Women whose thighs are less than 27 inches are more likely to die of heart disease than those with larger legs. One theory is that the decreased muscle mass associated with thinner legs decreases your ability to use insulin. The inability to use insulin can lead to diabetes which increases the risk for heart disease.

Be sure to speak with a physician if you experience these symptoms or have any other risk factors for heart disease. Your doctor can order tests based on your specific symptoms to determine if they are related to a heart problem or another underlying cause.

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