Wouldn’t it be great if your body sent obvious warning signs alerting you to early-stage heart disease? Unfortunately, that’s not the way your body works.
While there are warning signs, by the time you feel them, your cardiovascular disease has gone beyond the early stage. But there’s still hope.
You can prevent serious heart problems by dealing with early-stage heart disease. Kishore Arcot, MD, and our caring team at Memphis Vein Center are here to help.
We provide comprehensive care, including risk assessments, cardiovascular screening, preventive lifestyle guidance, and effective treatments that reverse early-stage heart disease and prolong your life.
Here’s what you need to know about early-stage heart disease.
Defining early-stage heart disease
Early-stage heart disease may not be what you expect. The early stage refers to the conditions that cause cardiovascular disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- High blood sugar (diabetes)
These chronic conditions represent early-stage heart disease because they’re the source of cardiovascular problems. They cause atherosclerosis (buildup of cholesterol plaque in your arteries), and they lead to heart muscle problems by making your heart work harder.
But you can prevent them. Your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels rise slightly above normal before they get high enough for you to be diagnosed with the long-lasting disease.
If you deal with the problem before it reaches the tipping point, you can prevent early-stage heart disease, which in turn protects you from advanced cardiovascular diseases.
Warning signs of heart disease
In the early stages of heart disease, you don’t have symptoms or warning signs. Without treatment, these conditions keep getting progressively worse. When they reach a more advanced stage, you may start to experience symptoms such as:
- Unusual tiredness or fatigue
- Occasional or brief chest pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Leg pain when you’re active
- Racing or fluttering heart
- Swelling in your legs or ankles
- Swelling in your abdomen
- Need to urinate during the night
You won’t have all these symptoms because it depends on what type of cardiovascular disease you have.
For example, coronary artery disease causes chest pain, while peripheral artery disease leads to leg pain. A racing or fluttering heart signals a heart arrhythmia. Leg swelling may be the sign of damaged heart muscles or venous disease.
The bottom line is that you can intervene to prevent heart disease; you just can’t depend on waiting for symptoms to appear.
Detecting early-stage heart disease
Like full-blown cardiovascular disease, the conditions of early-stage heart disease don’t cause obvious signs until they reach an advanced stage.
To determine if you have early-stage heart disease, you need to schedule a preventive checkup so we can screen your risk factors for heart disease, check your vital signs, and run blood tests if needed.
Treatments for early heart disease
When the conditions that cause cardiovascular disease are caught at an early stage, you can usually reverse the problem by changing your lifestyle. Your diet, exercise routine, body weight, and habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol have a direct impact on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
As a result, following a healthy diet, maintaining a more active lifestyle, losing weight, and stopping smoking can prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
And if you can’t prevent them, you can still avoid cardiovascular disease by lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, and keeping them in a normal range. Changing your lifestyle is the first step to achieving that goal.
Smoking cigarettes is a huge risk factor for heart disease, so it’s important to break the habit. Smoking damages your blood vessels and heart function and accelerates the fatty buildup of atherosclerosis.
If lifestyle changes don’t do the job or you have a severe condition, we prescribe medications to target the underlying conditions. In some cases, such as an artery that’s significantly blocked by atherosclerosis, we may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to eliminate the problem.
When you want to prevent early-stage heart disease, call our office or request an appointment online today.