African American adults are more likely to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease, and they are more likely to die from heart disease.
Researchers have done a lot of work in recent years looking at the signs and symptoms that heart patients have experienced in the months or even years leading up to a heart attack.
So, right now, what factors would a doctor look at to grade the health of your heart?
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“The heart, together with the arteries that feed it, is one big muscle, and when it starts to fail the symptoms can show up in many parts of the body,” says cardiologist Jonathan Goldstein of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
1. Sexual problems
Something cardiologists know but the average guy doesn’t: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the best early tip-offs to progressive heart disease.
“Today, any patient who comes in with ED should be considered a cardiovascular patient until proven otherwise,” says Goldstein.
In women, reduced blood flow to the genital area can impede arousal, make it harder to reach orgasm, or make orgasms less satisfying.
If you or your partner has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or has problems with sexual satisfaction, that’s reason enough to visit your doctor to investigate cardiovascular disease as an underlying cause. Get a full workup to assess possible causes of erectile dysfunction or difficulty with orgasm. Men should see both a general practitioner and a urologist, and women should see both a general practioner and a gynecologist. Both men and women should request heart tests – even if the doctor doesn’t mention them.
If you snore loudly enough to keep your sleeping partner awake or to force him or her to resort to earplugs, your heart may be at risk. Restricted breathing during sleep, the underlying cause of snoring, is linked with all types of cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea, in which breathing briefly stops during sleep, is linked with a higher risk of both cardiovascular disease and heart attack.