General Question

minniemau5's avatar

What are the early signs of heart disease or failure?

Asked by minniemau5 (432points) May 28th, 2011

I’m just curious because I attended a conference where I learned that I’m at a significant risk for developing heart problems due to family history, anthracycline chemotherapy drugs and chest radiation. The speaker said that people with my risk factors should be having yearly EKGs, Echocardiograms and Holter Monitors… which I am NOT. I am only 18 so while I don’t think heart failure is in my near future, I’d just like to know what warning signs I should be watching for. I already have some weird symptoms that concern me.

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5 Answers

marinelife's avatar

You need a medical diagnosis from a professional.

Here is some information:

“In many cases, physicians diagnose heart failure during a physical examination. Readily identifiable signs are shortness of breath, fatigue, and swollen ankles and feet. The physician also will check for the presence of risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity, and a history of heart problems. Using a stethoscope, the physician can listen to a patient breathe and identify the sounds of lung congestion. The stethoscope also picks up the abnormal heart sounds indicative of heart failure.
If neither the symptoms nor the patient’s history point to a clear-cut diagnosis, the physician may recommend any of a variety of laboratory tests, including, initially, an electrocardiogram, which uses recording devices placed on the chest to evaluate the electrical activity of a patient’s heartbeat.”

JLeslie's avatar

The signs tend to be very different for men and woman. Some women just feel nauseas and fatigued. They think they just, “haven’t been feeling well, under the weather.” The only way to know for sure what is going on is to be evaluated.

Are you saying you had chemo and radiation, or someone in your family? Anthracycline can cause cardiac problems, but I think it is still rare and has to do with how much exposure you have to it over a lifetime. Meaning it is cumalitive the risk I think? Radiation back in the seventies for breast cancer used to be blamed for arterial problems developing wthin ten years in that location, so can be the heart, or arteries leading from the heart, but I don’t know if that was an old wives tail or true? And I don’t hear it anymore, so maybe the radiation risks are greatly diminished compaired to then? Not sure.

Plus, there are a variety ofndifferent heart problems, some arterial, some electrical, some involving the valves, each can cause different symptoms.

What are your symptoms?

Aster's avatar

First you become out of breath climbing stairs. Next, you become out of breath walking.
The last stage of heart failure is being out of breath while sitting.

Cupcake's avatar

Talk to a cardiologist. They take family history very seriously.

Also, get your cholesterol checked.

snowberry's avatar

I don’t know if this information will help you, but if nothing else it’s somewhat amusing (it made me smile anyway). And that might help to lift your spirit and lighten your heart.

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