Any sleep-related breathing problem is a clue that something’s wrong, so call the doctor. They may recommend a sleep study, but get your heart checked out too.
3. Sore, swollen or bleeding gums
Sore, swollen, or bleeding gums are symptoms not only of periodontal disease, where exposure to bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. But unhealthy gums are also a possible early sign of underlying cardiovascular disease.
See a dentist to treat gum disease and prevent the presence of bacteria. Because gum disease can be a red flag for inflammation and circulatory problems, ask your doctor if ongoing gum symptoms warrant a checkup.
4. Puffy or swollen legs or feet
If you notice that your feet swell enough to make your shoes tight; your ankles, wrists, or fingers are noticeably puffy; or there are deep pressure marks or indents when you take off socks or hose, you may have a problem with fluid retention. Also called edema, fluid retention can be a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart failure, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
Report problems with edema to your doctor, who can run tests that may indicate CAD and can determine if your heart function is normal.
5. Shortness of breath
An early sign that something is wrong with a major bodily system is shortness of breath, typically with exercise, exertion, and stress. Typically, shortness of breath indicates either early-stage heart disease or early-stage lung disease, and it’s not possible to know which it is without seeing a doctor.
It may feel like you can’t catch your breath, or you may notice a feeling of compression in the chest and lungs, making it difficult to take a deep breath.
Another breathing symptom of poor circulation may be labored breathing, which occurs when fluid accumulates in the lungs. If you notice that your breathing problems are worse at night or anytime you lie down, that can also indicate a heart problem.
Shortness of breath, either with exercise and stress or all the time, is always a reason to see the doctor for a checkup, since it can be a symptom of a number of serious conditions.