I’m a surgeon – these are the six overlooked signs of heart disease you should never ignore

A doctor has revealed the surprising red flags you’re heading towards a future with severe heart disease – and why ignoring the signs could lead to irreversible damage.

Dr Igor Troickis, a renowned bariatric surgeon from Weight Loss Riga, told FEMAIL that while coronary heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, people often mistake the early warning signs for minor health issues.

More than 4.5 million Australians are impacted by cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and the Australian Heart Institute revealed that an Australian dies from CVD every 12 minutes.  

The medical professional shared that chest discomfort, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, and unexplained pain on the left side of your body are signs of heart disease. 

‘Early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes and quality of life,’ he said. ‘Ignoring these signs can lead to serious, often irreversible damage.’

Dr Igor Troickis, a renowned bariatric surgeon, revealed six warning signs of heart disease

Who is most likely to develop heart disease?

Dr Troickis claimed certain groups are more susceptible to heart problems, such as individuals with a family history of heart disease, smokers, those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, diabetics, and people who are obese.

‘Obesity is a significant risk factor,’ Dr Troickis explained.

‘Excess body weight puts extra strain on the heart, increases blood pressure, and raises cholesterol levels, all of which contribute to the development of heart disease.’

Chest discomfort

‘Heart disease often creeps up silently,’ Dr Troickis warned.

‘Many people experience mild symptoms that they dismiss as stress or ageing. However, these signs are crucial indicators that something is wrong.’

Dr Troickis said anginas typically feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the centre of the chest.

‘It might come and go, lasting a few minutes at a time,’ he said. ‘This symptom should never be ignored, especially if it occurs during physical activity or stress.’

Dr Troickis said anginas typically feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest

Dr Troickis said anginas typically feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest

Shortness of breath

If you experience random shortness of breath – especially while doing routine activities or while resting – you should see a doctor immediately.

Shortness of breath is a sign your heart isn’t pumping efficiently and is an often overlooked symptom. 

Unusual fatigue

Dr Troickis highlighted the significance of unusual fatigue.

‘Persistent, unexplained fatigue can signal heart disease,’ he said. ‘If you’re constantly feeling tired despite getting enough rest, it’s time to consult a doctor.’

Swelling in feet, ankles, or legs

‘Edema, or swelling, can indicate that your heart is struggling to pump blood effectively,’ Dr Troickis said.

‘It’s often accompanied by weight gain and should be evaluated promptly.’

Edema is common in your feet, ankles and legs, but it can also affect your face, hands, and abdomen. 

Edema, or swelling, can indicate that your heart is struggling to pump blood effectively

Edema, or swelling, can indicate that your heart is struggling to pump blood effectively

Heart palpitations

Dr Troickis said you should always be vigilant about irregular heartbeats.

‘While palpitations can result from anxiety or caffeine, frequent occurrences warrant medical attention,’ he said.

While heart palpitations as a result of exercise or stress are usually harmless, you should beware if they happen in tandem with other described symptoms. 

Pain in random parts of your body

Finally, Dr Troickis revealed that unexplained pain can be a sign of heart disease.  

‘Pain radiating to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back, especially on the left side, should raise immediate concern,’ he said.

Dr Troickis added, ‘Recognising these early signs and seeking medical advice promptly can make a significant difference.’

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