The key signs of heart trouble that you might miss

It can happen to anyone, the small signs that someone you know or even yourself might be having heart problems.

It can happen to anyone, the small signs that someone you know or even yourself might be having heart problems.

A Queensland GP, who dismissed her husband’s symptoms as being due to his age and poor fitness, has urged over 60s to be aware that there’s more to heart attack than a stabbing pain in the chest.

Dr Desley Marshall, who practices in rural Queensland told Medical Observer, “[Robert] was quite tired and quite breathless. I kept telling him he was 73 and didn’t do any exercise.”

It turned out that her husband was actually suffering serious heart problems and needed a coronary artery bypass and valve replacement followed. His condition was fortunately picked up by a travelling Heart of Australia mobile cardiology clinic.

Dr Marshall’s case is a reminder how many of us are unaware of the many and varied symptoms of heart disease – not all heart attacks start with someone clutching their chest and falling to the floor.

Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for. If you have any concerns, see your doctor and request an echocardiogram. If you experience several of these symptoms at once, seek help.

  1. Chest pain: this could mean a pinching, burning or feeling of pressure that lasts for more than a few minutes and can occur when you are resting or doing something active.
  2. Indigestion, heart burn and an upset stomach – some people, especially women, will throw up during a heart attack.
  3. Dizziness: while this can be caused by many things, when combined with pain or shortness of breath, it is a concern.
  4. Pain that spreads from your chest down your arm or into your throat and jaw.
  5. Sudden exhaustion: if you can’t do something today you could do easily a few days ago, you need to tell your doctor.
  6. Unexplained weakness that can last a few days.
  7. Breaking out in a cold sweat: if this happens in conjunction with any of these other symptoms, phone an ambulance.
  8. Swollen legs, ankles or feet could show your heart isn’t pumping as effectively as it should.
  9. An irregular heartbeat that lasts for more than a few seconds.

Have you or has someone you love experienced heart disease? Which symptoms did you observe and which did you miss?

  1. ken morgan  

    3 years ago i had a silent heart attack i had very few symtoms slight pain in heart area and slight continuing pain running from left shoulder to finger tips .i sat down fo 10 minutes pain still there so i rang for a ambulance they sent all my vitals to north shore hospital cath lab the doctors found my heart Circumflex artery was completly blocked with a blood clot they sucked the clot out and installed a stent . very important to get help very quick .google silent heart attack. all well now

  2. Maureen  

    I feel for Dr Desley. Glad her husband is now OK.
    As a GP I am aware that doctors often don’t notice signs of illness in their close family, I think it’s because we sort of switch off when we get home from work!
    I look for heart disease in any patient with high blood pressure, family history, diabetes and anyone who is unusually tired, or who snores.
    Sleep apnoea often underlies all these conditions and is a silent killer.
    Or maybe not so silent! If you have a loud snorer in your life, encourage them to have a sleep study, and of course BP, blood and heart checks.

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