Unexpected signs of heart disease

Be sure to take these possible symptoms seriously

Most of us have heard about warning signs of a heart attack: pain in the chest or loss of feeling (numbness) in the left arm. When those symptoms appear, a call to 911 is often the best course of action.

However, some signs of heart trouble are less obvious— but still need medical attention. “Some people don’t feel any pain, even during a heart attack,” says Howard Levitt,
MD, a heart specialist and Medical Director of Ambulatory Cardiology at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI). “Others have heart problems they’re not aware of because the symptoms are vague and don’t seem to be related to the heart at all.”

There are certain signs that a doctor should check out, he says. These include:
• Tightness, heaviness or squeezing in the chest
• Pain in the jaw or ear
• Unexplained and rapid
• Shortness of breath weight gain
• Nausea or fatigue
• Swelling in the legs
• Feeling lightheaded
• Dry or hacking cough

These symptoms may not seem heart-related, but could be. Such signs could provide useful direction for a healthier lifestyle. “While some will require invasive interventions, in other cases exercise, healthy eating and medication can help prevent, minimize or sometimes even reverse damage to the heart,” Dr. Levitt says.

If you’re unsure whether you have symptoms of an unhealthy heart, talk to your doctor, especially if a symptom is new. If it is severe, err on the side of caution: Call your doctor or call 911.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cardiac Clinic opened for people who have heart conditions. The clinic, located within the hospital at 201 Lyons Avenue, is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 973.926.7852 for an inperson appointment or a telemedicine visit.

To learn more about programs and services at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, visit rwjbh.org/newarkbeth