Heart disease can show itself in a variety of ways

Published On: Feb 23 2014 08:05:58 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 23 2014 12:00:00 AM EST

A recent survey found that two out of three Americans know someone with heart disease, but those same people aren't familiar with its signs.  Dr. Dermot Phelan, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, says heart disease can show itself in a variety of ways.

"There are typical signs and atypical signs," explained Phelan. "The typical signs we think about are chest pain when we exert ourselves, shortness of breath with exertion and then the more atypical signs sometimes we can get pains in the back of our chest. Sometimes just nausea, vomiting, fatigue."

The survey found about half of us don't realize fatigue is a sign of heart disease.  Jaw pain is another sign very few people know. Sleep disturbances can be another way your body is telling you that your heart is breaking down.

So, Phelan says if you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, you should get in to see your doctor right away.

"Get an idea about things like our blood pressure, our cholesterol, and our blood sugars to make sure that they are well controlled," explained Phelan.

Phelan adds you should start scheduling regular checkups with your doctor, especially if you're over 40


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