Disorders of the heart and of circulation, such as heart attack and stroke, are serious health concerns.

Behaviors that may be telling you about heart conditions:

  • Physical activities that used to be easy are now hard
  • Anxiety or fearfulness for no apparent reason
  • Unusual fatigue after activity
  • Leg pain after walking a short distance
  • Becomes less and less active
  • Brief periods of difficulty walking, talking
  • Wakes often at night with hard coughing, difficulty catching breath
  • Brief periods of confusion
  • Blacks out, faints, falls
  • Short-lived paleness, sweating, nausea
  • Reaches for things placed to one side, but not to the other

Other factors that may indicate the presence of a heart or blood vessel condition:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Personal history of:
    • Smoking
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
  • Muscles of face seem "droopy"
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in jaw, neck, chest, shoulder, or arm that doesn't go away
  • Pain in jaw, neck, back, chest, shoulder, elbow, arm, or hand, especially if it follows exercise, cold, heavy meal, smoking, stress; and is relieved by a short rest (up to 20 minutes)
  • Obesity, especially in the middle of the body
  • Weakness on one side of the body that lasts:
    • Less than 4 hours (TIA)
    • More than 4 hours (stroke)
  • Swollen legs or feet
  • Dry cough at night, with clicking, bubbling, or rattling sounds
  • Use of birth control pills

Do you think someone's behavior may be telling you about a heart or blood vessel condition? Talk with your doctor or other health care.