Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to heart diseases.
A whopping three million Indians die every year due to heart diseases and it’s not just people of your father or grandfather’s age. According to ASSOCHAM, in the last five years, the number of people getting heart attacks in their 20s and 30s has shot up five times in the country.
What’s worse, doctors say that one in three people dismiss the warning signals as signs of ageing. Now high blood pressure, skewed cholesterol levels, diabetes and obesity are all heart disease signs we’re relatively aware off. Here are the other, less familiar red flags, which give us cues to make healthy lifestyle changes:
1. You Want To End the Sex Drought But Can’t
There are no official figures on sexual dysfunction because no guy wants to talk about it. EVER.
Men like to think of themselves as some kind of sex Gods blessed with high an mighty Thor-like hammers. But for some reason, if the hammer doesn’t perform and is forever stuck in the yard there could be a real health problem and not just lack of interest in the relationship.
Erectile dysfunction is a big warning sign of heart disease – in fact the two have such an intimate link that doctors often say, if you have one, you will get the other in the future. Both the diseases occur because plaque sits on the inner lining of the blood vessels making it harder for proper blood supply. So don’t let either issue limp in your life, talk to a doctor, do regular exercise and seek proper treatment.
2. Male Pattern Baldness
About 30% of men by the age of 30 have some kind of hair trouble for a bunch of garden-variety reasons – genes, stress, pollution, lifestyle habits. It can also signal high chances of heart disease.
The risk associated is only with male pattern baldness, the one which starts at the crown and not with overall thinning or with a receding hairline.
A 2013 research published in reputed British Medical Journal analysed six previous studies over two decades on nearly 40,000 individuals and found that men with typical male pattern baldness have a 30% to 40% increased risk of heart disease than their counterparts with a fuller crown.
The reason for this association is unclear, but it could be due to the complex interaction between the testosterone and blood supply or because in most cases, hair loss is due to high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.
Look closely at the mirror for an early warning that something is amiss.
Related Read: Soda and Heart Disease – How Much Is Too Much?
3. Shortness Of Breath
If you have to stop to catch your breath while climbing two flights of stairs, if shortness of breath is waking you up while sleeping, is accompanied by severe cough, it could be a tell-tale sign that your heart ain’t pumping blood normally to the lungs.
Seek immediate medical help or go to the hospital and get the preventive heart check-up done.
4. Constantly Yawning During Exercise
Yawning is one of the first things we learn to do. We yawn spontaneously, randomly and totally unconsciously. While science has never been able to fully explain why we yawn, one thing is clear – it is an internal mechanism to cool the brain. But scientists say, if you yawn uncontrollably during working, it can be a signal towards a heart issue and that your inbuilt cooling system is on a fritz. Time to notify the doctor, maybe?
5. Dizziness When You Stand Up
Mostly, dizziness is not caused by something life threatening but if you feel light headed or get a rush when standing up from sitting, don’t dismiss it as nothing. It could be because of a rapid drop in blood pressure, a condition known as orthostatic hypotension.
If the usual symptoms – dehydration and fatigue are dismissed, orthostatic hypotension coupled with risk factors like diabetes, hypertension could lead to heart attacks.
It must be noted that none of these standalone symptoms mean that you’re a sure shot candidate for a heart disease, these are bizarre medical signs which could indicate that there could be trouble down the road. And when it comes to your heart, you’d better be safe than sorry.
Related Read: Six Ways To Prevent Heart Disease in Your 20s
(Three million people die of heart diseases in India every year. This article was first published on 28 September 2016. It is being republished for World Heart Day. )