Cardiologist Reveals Top 10 Heart Symptoms You Should Never Ignore, But Many People Do

​Jean-Louis Paulin

A leading cardiologist has revealed the top 10 heart symptoms you should never ignore—including nausea with chest ache and being tired upon waking. But a recent survey found 54 percent of adults wouldn’t guess these symptoms were related to poor heart health.

Dr. Ameet Bakhai, a consultant cardiologist at Spire Bushey Hospital in North London, listed other signs that could indicate your heart is in less than tip-top condition, including heaviness in the arm upon exertion, shortness of breath walking up stairs, and frequent extra or missed heartbeats.

Difficulty bending down and standing up, feeling dizzy when standing up quickly, and swollen legs are also indicators that your heart is not adapting to your positions, or is holding spare fluid in the body and needs attention.

Half of the 2,000 British adults surveyed reported they have suffered at least one of these symptoms before.

Bakhai, who has a special interest in how lifestyle factors can impact cardiac health says an adult with a healthy heart should be able to run up two flights of stairs without getting out of breath and squat on a toilet, providing they have no other health conditions.

Similarly, a healthy adult should be able to hold their breath comfortably for 20 seconds.

“We often ignore our heart health and it’s signals until it’s too late,” said Bakhai, who has been advising Healthspan, which commissioned the poll, about their Love Your Heart supplements in the UK.

“There’s no annual measurements, observations or tests (MOT) to be passed for most of us, so we ignore the small signals that our own engine is not performing ideally.

“Heart issues can often get progressively worse, until one day you have a more complicated issue – that could have been avoided if you’d heeded the warning signs.

“Heart issues can be connected to other things – you might consider not being able to run up two flights of stairs more of a lung condition or a lack of fitness or of weight gain, but there is a lot of overlap with coronary artery disease or heart valve problems or irregular heart rhythms.

That’s why looking after your heart health is essential.

The poll also found one in five adults have reported feeling dizzy after standing up too quickly, while 11 percent have experienced chest tightness.

But a third think such symptoms could be from a number of different things, while 26 percent just didn’t see them as serious. 17 percent didn’t raise these issues with other people because they didn’t want to be seen as melodramatic—and 13 percent consider themselves simply too young to have heart issues.

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Bakhai explained, “This is sadly a misunderstanding as heart disease can affect people of all ages, particularly in the era of COVID, as the virus can attack the heart lining as a condition called myopericarditis (inflamed heart and heart covering).

“Warning signs like chest tightness, aches in your arms or jaw, dizziness on standing, breathlessness with bending down should act like a wake-up call that your heart is calling out for help.

A quarter of those polled said they had medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, while 20 percent said they had high cholesterol.

72 percent of those surveyed by OnePoll had never seen a medical professional about heart conditions, although 68 percent consider heart health very important to them, rising to 80 percent of those aged over 65. Around half admitted they need to do more to keep their hearts in good working condition.


Dizziness on standing up quicklyShortness of breathDifficulty bending downPalpitationsTightness of the chestArm pain – often on the leftDifficulty standing upChest discomfort (excluding tightness)Swollen legsFrequent extra or skipped heartbeats

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