We’ve all read the signs of a heart attack listed on posters in the hospital waiting room.
But what if there were other, earlier signs that could alert you ahead of time that your heart was in trouble?
It turns out there are.
Researchers have done a lot of work in recent years looking at the signs and symptoms patients experienced in the months or even years leading up to a heart attack.
“The heart, together with the arteries that feed it, is one big muscle, and when it starts to fail the symptoms can show up in many parts of the body,” says cardiologist Jonathan Goldstein of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Here are six surprising clues that your heart needs a check. Any of these signs — and particularly two or more together — should send you to the doctor for tests.
#1 – Sexual problems
Something cardiologists know but the average guy doesn’t: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the best early tip-offs to progressive heart disease.
“Today, any patient who comes in with ED should be considered a cardiovascular patient until proven otherwise,” says Goldstein.