Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore
At Cross County Cardiology – Mount Sinai, these are the symptoms we hear most often—ones you should not ignore. If you are experiencing any of these, please reach out to a heart specialist to make sure you are not experiencing a more serious problem.
Swelling of the legs and ankles is so common that almost everyone experiences it from time to time. You might have it after a minor sprain or a long airplane flight. Usually such swelling is temporary. If swelling persists for more than a week or two, there might be a more serious problem. One common cause of leg swelling, for example, is vein disease, especially if you have visible varicose veins. Another common reason for leg swelling is peripheral arterial disease.
If you have vein disease symptoms, we would suggest that you schedule an Initial Consultation.
You can experience chest pain for a variety of reasons. Some are benign, such as gas pains and muscle strain. Others are more serious, like heart attack and myocarditis. If you have persistent chest pains, we recommend that you have a cardiology consultation. If you experience sudden or severe chest pain, especially if it is accompanied by lightheadedness or shortness of breath, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.
If you feel as though your heart is racing, fluttering, or pounding far more than usual, you may be experiencing heart palpitations. These uncomfortable sensations can be caused by emotional distress, strenuous exercise, or stimulants such as coffee and nicotine. However, palpitations can also be caused by atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions. If the feeling persists for more than a few seconds, we recommend that you schedule a cardiology consultation, just to make sure.
Feeling as though you are going to faint or can’t keep your balance is considered lightheadedness. It can be caused by many things. Some of these aren’t worrisome, such as low blood sugar, or having a cold or the flu. But lightheadedness can also be a symptom of more serious conditions. It is particularly concerning if you also have nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or pain in the chest. If you have any of these more severe symptoms, call 911. Do not attempt to drive to an emergency room by yourself. We also recommend that you schedule a cardiology consultation.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath (dyspnea) is never a symptom to ignore. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits. Much of the time, shortness of breath is caused by a respiratory infection or anxiety. But it can also be caused by more severe conditions, such as irregular heart rhythms, heart attacks or heart failure, and a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). If you experience shortness of breath, you should see a doctor. At Cross County Cardiology – Mount Sinai, depending on your other symptoms, we would conduct a full physical examination. This would include a cardiology consultation. If the shortness of breath comes on suddenly, and you are having severe trouble catching your breath, call 911.
Syncope is the medical term for fainting, or passing out. This is also a symptom you should never ignore. Syncope is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. It is never normal. If you faint or pass out, you should seek immediate medical attention. While some causes of syncope are benign, others can be an early warning of a dangerous or life-threatening condition. At Cross County Cardiology – Mount Sinai, depending on your other symptoms, we would recommend a cardiology consultation.
Occasional feelings of fatigue during the day are common. They may stem from poor nutrition, changes in routine such as exercising too much, not getting enough sleep, or the effects of common medications, such as antihistamines. But if your fatigue becomes chronic, and you often feel exhausted, even after a good night's sleep, it can be a symptom of underlying conditions. You should seek medical advice. For example, constant fatigue can stem from vein disease. It can be caused by varicose veins, even if they are not visible on the surface of the skin. Peripheral arterial disease can also produce constant fatigue. You should contact a medical professional. At Cross County Cardiology – Mount Sinai, we would probably schedule you for an initial consultation or a cardiology consultation, depending on the extent of your tiredness. We can diagnose your condition and begin treatment before it becomes worse.
Reduced Exercise Tolerance
Exercise intolerance sounds like the feeling you get when you really do not want to go to the gym. But if you often find that you cannot complete your workout or cannot exercise as well or as long as you used to, it can be a sign of a more serious condition. It is especially concerning if you also experience post-workout pain, nausea, vomiting, or unusual feelings of fatigue.
If you have these other symptoms, you may be experiencing heart disease. It could be diastolic heart failure, which occurs when the heart cannot fill with blood during the relaxed phase of the heartbeat. This means that your heart is pumping less oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood around your body. It can reduce your ability to perform physical activity and aerobic exercise. We recommend that you have a cardiology consultation to detect or rule out the possibility that there is a cardiovascular cause.
Pregnancy increases a woman’s vein disease risk in two ways. It can increase risk through hormonal changes and by increasing the overall volume of blood in the body. Increasing the blood volume can put pressure the vein walls. As a result, about 30 to 40 percent of women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Fortunately, most of these swollen veins go away naturally after the pregnancy. In some cases, however, varicose veins can be accompanied by other symptoms. These symptoms can include leg pain, muscle cramps, swollen achy legs, skin itchiness and dermatitis, or restless leg syndrome. If you experience these symptoms, it's a good idea to schedule an initial consultation with a vein expert. They can help you to minimize discomfort during pregnancy and explain your treatment options if the varicose veins persist after you give birth.
Blood pressure tends to rise in pregnancy after 20 weeks. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure in the past and are pregnant, it is a good idea to check with a cardiologist to make sure you’re not having any heart-related issues. This is especially true if you experience severe or long-lasting headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, rapid or irregular heartbeat, or chest pains.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation for a checkup, call our offices today at 201-299-4479 or go online. We want to do all we can to help you stay healthy.