Without meaning to sound morbid, there are many things that can kill us. Presently, there are over 30,000 human diseases known to medicine.(1) Of all them, heart disease is the number one cause of fatality for both men and women, which is why it’s important to pay extra attention to your heart and when possible, avoid any health risks related to it.
If you live in North America, you know that the standard American diet (SAD) is far from healthy. From the portion sizes to the processed ingredients contained in the food, a lot of it can raise health issues. Here are a few statistics to prove that that typical American diet needs to change based on a 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute : (2)
- 3 out of 4 Americans don’t eat a single piece of fruit on a given day
- 9 out of 10 Americans don’t reach the minimum recommended daily intake of vegetables
- 96% don’t reach the minimum for greens or beans (three servings a week for adults)
- 98 % don’t reach the minimum for orange vegetables (two servings a week)
- 99% don’t reach the minimum for whole grains (about three to four ounces a day)
The researchers concluded that “nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations. These findings add another piece to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis.”
What Does the Standard American Diet Contain?
So, if Americans lack the necessary nutrients and vitamins their bodies need, then what do they eat? You can probably add to the list if you identify as one of the three-fourths of the population with a poor diet. (3) This typical diet (SAD) contains red meat, processed foods, high-fat dairy, refined grains, sodas, and sugary foods – all of which contribute more harm than good to your health. If you want to read more about the Standard American Diet, check out this article that contains all the details.
Poor diet means higher risks of heart problems. Currently, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease, which accounts for about 610,000 deaths per year in the United States. (4) Heart disease is the overarching term for coronary heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart, and congenital heart disease.
Common Symptoms of Heart Disease
Depending on the type of heart disease, symptoms may vary greatly. Many people only recognize the signs of an unhealthy heart when a heart attack occurs! This shouldn’t be the first sign that prompts action. The following are some common symptoms of heart disease that you need to pay attention to:
- Chest discomfort
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain
- You feel dizzy or lightheaded
- Throat or jaw pain
- Pain that spreads to the arm
- Irregular heartbeat
- A cough that won’t quit
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What we’ve just listed are general signs that tell you to pay closer attention to your heart and possibly visit your doctor if any of these symptoms persist. But you should also know that there are other unusual signs that could indicate the possibility of heart disease. Keep reading to find out what they are.
6 Unusual Signs of Heart Disease
Signs of heart disease may be hard to detect sometimes, and special imaging technology is needed to look at the heart. Thankfully, there are external, visible signs that can hint you may have heart problems and they’re not what you would expect.
1. Creased earlobes
Over 40 studies have found an association between creased earlobes and increased risk of atherosclerosis, a disease where plaque buildup inside your arteries. It’s unclear what the association is but some suggest it has to do with a shared embryological sign. The sign of creased earlobes is known as Frank’s sign, named after Sanders Frank, an American doctor who first described it.
2. Fatty bumps
Clinically known as xanthomas, yellow, fatty bumps that often appear on the elbows, knees, buttocks, or eyelids are another external sign of heart disease. Xanthomas commonly appear in people with a genetic disease called familial hypercholesterolemia, where their levels of bad cholesterol are so high that they get deposited into the skin. Unfortunately, these fatty deposits are also laid down in arteries that supply the heart.
3. Clubbed fingernails
Clubbing of the fingernails occurs when their shape changes, becoming thicker and wider, due to more tissue being produced. This sign relates to heart disease because oxygenated blood is not reaching the fingers properly and that signals the cells to try and rectify the issue by promoting growth.
4. A halo around the iris
A halo around the iris, known as arcus senilis, has been shown to have some association with the risk factors for coronary heart disease. This halo is a fat deposit, often a grey ring around the outside of the iris. But it does not interfere with vision. About 45% of people over the age of 40 have this fatty halo around their iris and over 70% of people over the age of 60.
5. Rotten gums and loose teeth
Your mouth is full of good and bad bacteria. The bad bacteria could enter the bloodstream in the mouth and cause inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease. Furthermore, studies have shown that some markers of heart disease are tooth loss and inflamed gums (periodontitis). If you want to prevent these oral problems, then check out these 7 natural ways you can avoid cavities and gum disease, and essentially, heart attacks too.
6. Blue lips
If your lips are a bluish color, but not because you are extremely cold or have been at a high altitude, then it may be a sign of heart problems. Cyanosis, the bluish discoloration of the skin occurs when the cardiovascular system fails to deliver oxygenated blood to the tissues. If this sign occurs among the other five mentioned above, you should contact your healthcare professional for an expert opinion.
Take care of your heart as best as possible so you can avoid any risks of heart disease. If it helps, here is a list of 8 superfoods that will rejuvenate your heart and brain.
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