How do I know if I have heart disease?
Heart attack prevention begins with awareness. Understanding your cardiac risk begins with a simple assessment of your coronary risk factors. You are probably familiar with traditional risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes. But you may not be aware of other potential risk markers. What is the role of family history? How important is any one particular risk factor. Are some risk factors more concerning than others?
The easiest possible way for you to know if you have heart disease or significant coronary risk is to schedule a consultation with Woodlands North Houston Heart Center. Our cardiologists have the experience and expertise to determine your risk for heart disease.
It is important to realize that each of us is very different and one approach to cardiac evaluation might be right for one patient and entirely unnecessary or wrong for another. Our physicians can identify those who are at higher risk from those who have lesser risk and tailor an evaluation appropriate for that patient. Our goal is to identify those at risk and avoid unnecessary testing for those who carry low risk. We take pride in providing a thoughtful approach where resources are not spent unnecessarily.
Finally, it is important for patients to understand what a test result means. Does a normal stress test or normal nuclear stress test imply that a patient is truly free of disease in total? Absolutely not! A patient with a normal exam might nonetheless harbor significant coronary artery disease and while free of problem today, carries significant risk for the future. So what is the best approach to risk reduction into the future? Our clinicians can help you understand better and design a specific approach to prevention that is tailored to your needs.
Early Action is Important for Heart Attack Treatment
Know the early warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack so that you can act fast if you or someone you know might be having a heart attack. The chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.
- In a 2005 survey, most respondents—92%—recognized chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack. Only 27% were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a heart attack.5
- About 47% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital. This suggests that many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes these major signs of a heart attack:
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort or not at all.
- Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately.