Chest pain


Warning signs of heart conditions you shouldn't ignore

13 January 2022

If something was wrong with your heart, would you know how to recognise it? Not all heart problems come with clear warning signs. 

Some symptoms of heart problems don’t even happen in your chest. Here are 10 warning signs you shouldn’t ignore that could signal a heart condition.

Chest discomfort is one of the most common signs of a heart condition. Feeling pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest could be a sign of a blocked artery or a heart attack. The discomfort will usually last longer than a few minutes and can happen when you're at rest or while you're doing something physical.

It’s also worth noting that you can have a heart problem without chest pain, this is especially true for in women. 

Another common symptom of a heart attack is the feeling of pain that radiates down the left side of the body into the left arm. It can be experienced in conjunction with chest pain, or it can happen on its own. 
Experiencing nausea, indigestion, heartburn, stomach pains or even vomiting can be symptoms of a heart condition - especially in women. These symptoms are tricky as they can also be caused for a number of other reasons. If you are at risk of heart problems and experience these symptoms you should seek medical assistance.  
Throat or jaw pain is often a symptom of a cold or sinus-related infection. However, if you experience pain in the throat or jaw that is coming from pain or pressure in your chest you should seek medical assistance as it could be a sign of a heart issue. 

There are a lot of reasons as to why you may feel faint or lose your balance. Maybe you didn’t have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.

But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath it could mean that your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isn't able to pump the way it should, and you should call the emergency services right away.

If you suddenly start to feel exhausted, fatigued, or winded after doing something you’ve had no problem doing in the past, such as climbing the stairs or carrying shopping bags, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.

Swelling in these areas could be a sign that your heart doesn’t pump blood as effectively as it should. When the heart can't pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and it causes bloating. Heart failure can also make it harder for the kidneys to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which can lead to bloating. 

If you experience swelling in your legs, feet or ankles you should contact your doctor to rule out any causes for concern.

Snoring is of course normal and many people snore. However, snoring loudly and sounds of gasping or choking are a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for brief moments several times at night while you are still sleeping. It puts extra stress on your heart.

If you have reason to believe that you are experiencing sleep apnea, contact your doctor to check whether you need a sleep. If you do, you may need a CPAP machine to smooth out you’re breathing while you sleep.

Of course it’s normal for your heart to race when you are nervous or excited. But if you feel like your heart is beating out of time for more than just a few seconds, or if it happens often, you need to let your doctor know. It could signal a condition called atrial fibrillation that needs treatment. 
In most cases a cough is not usually a sign of heart trouble. But if you have heart disease or know that you are at risk of developing it, you should pay special attention to it. A lingering cough that produces a white or pink mucus, could be a sign of heart failure. This happens when the heart can't keep up with the body's demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs. You should contact your doctor for an examination if this happens to you. 

Heart problems can still occur even when all efforts are made to reduce the risk. Having critical illness insurance in place means that you are covered for treatments required for a number of heart problems. These include treatment for:

  • Coronary artery angioplasty/stenting
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
  • Major vascular surgery

You can choose to cover yourself, you and your partner, your children or your whole family with critical illness cover. You can also choose cover to be in place overseas only or both overseas and in-country. When it comes to making a claim for treatment you can also choose between accessing medical case management service and treatment benefits or a lump sum payment.


Find out more about Avenue, our International Critical Illness Insurance plan and get a quote from our expert team today.