Can You Recognize The Early Warning Signs of Heart Disease?


By: Eric Piwowar

5 Min Quiz

Image: Halfpoint Images / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you're at risk for cardiovascular health problems, you might be ignoring some mundane symptoms that could actually be early signs of heart disease.

Everyone experiences upset stomachs, exhaustion and spells of dizziness, but when these symptoms accompany much more serious symptoms, like chest pain, you should pay close attention to what your body is telling you.

Heart disease is often called the silent killer because of how overlooked the symptoms can be. Most people recognize the common signs and symptoms of heart disease, and even heart attacks, but just as crucial is recognizing the early warning signs before they become much larger issues later on.

This quiz is meant to inform you while offering a chance to brush up on your heart health knowledge. You should still speak to your doctor if you have any questions concerning your health and always seek medical attention during an emergency.

Knowing what signs to look for early on could save yours or a loved one's life. So can you recognize these early signs of heart disease?

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.​

You're experiencing a pain that starts in your chest and extends down your left arm. What should you do.

You should call 911 and seek medical attention immediately if you ever experience pain that starts from your chest and extends down your left side. Pain down your left side is a very common symptom of heart attacks and can even occur without chest pains.


You have a spot on your chest that hurts when you touch or push on it. What should you do?

Chest pain and tightness is a very common sign of heart attack and disease, but Charles Chambers, MD, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart tells WebMD that if a spot only hurts when you touch it or push on it, it's probably not something heart-related. Signs of a heart attack feel different to everyone but they usually last longer than a few minutes. If you have chest pains that hurt without being touched or that last longer than a few minutes you should call 911.


Your partner tells your that your snoring sounds like you're choking or gasping for air. What should you do?

Snoring is a common occurrence, but snoring that is very loud and accompanied by sounds like choking or gasping for air could be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that puts extra strain on your heart, which can worsen your heart health. Talk to your doctor about these symptoms and see if a sleep study is required to determine if you have sleep apnea.


You're out for a walk when you begin to experience a pain in the center of your chest that spreads to your jaw. What should you do?

While jaw or throat pain can be innocuous and often caused by muscle tension, pain or pressure spreading from the center of your chest and into your throat or jaw could be a sign of heart attack. If you or a loved one experiences this type of pain or discomfort, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention.


You've broken out in a cold sweat without warning. Could you be having a heart attack?

Breaking out in a cold sweat without any warning could be a sign of a heart attack if it accompanies any of the other heart disease symptoms on this list. You should call 911 immediately if you're experiencing chest pains and have broken out in a cold sweat.


True or false: You can experience nausea, heartburn, indigestion and/or an upset stomach during a heart attack?

While "nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach" was a catchy jingle for Pepto Bismol, these are also potential symptoms of a heart attack. Women appear to suffer from these symptoms more than men do, and people can even vomit during a heart attack says Dr. Chambers. While you shouldn't be overly alarmed the next time you have a sour stomach, you should know that these symptoms can accompany a heart attack so make sure to tell your doctor if you regularly experience any of these symptoms and you're at risk for heart disease.


Which dietary mineral can help minimize heart health risks caused by excess sodium in your diet?

Excess sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain water, causing bloating which increases your blood pressure and adds extra stress to your heart and arteries. Potassium and sodium help the body regulate water retention and an imbalance of either of these minerals can cause health issues. Today's diets contain excessive amounts of sodium, and incorporating foods high in potassium, like avocado and spinach, as well as cutting down on sodium, can help reduce cardiovascular stress.


You've recently found yourself exhausted by the simplest amount of physical exertion. What should you do?

Sudden spells of fatigue or exhaustion doing things that haven't caused you any problems in the past could be symptoms of heart disease. Aches and pains are common occurrences for everyone, but these types of sudden changes are potential signals of much bigger problems that you should talk about with your doctor, especially if you're a woman.


You stand up too fast and immediately feel dizzy. What should you do?

Dizziness caused by standing up too fast is a common occurrence, but dizziness could also be a symptom of heart disease. Vincent Bufalino, MD, of the American Heart Association tells WebMD that dizziness that does not go away quickly or accompanies other symptoms of heart disease could be caused by a sharp drop in your blood pressure and may require immediate medical attention. If your dizziness does not pass quickly, or it accompanies other symptoms including chest pain and shortness of breath, then you should contact your doctor immediately.


You have a cough that won't go away. One day you cough up white and pink mucus. What should you do?

A cough that won't go away is never a sign of good health, especially if you begin coughing up white and pink mucus. Blood can enter the lungs when the heart is under too much stress and is failing. You should seek medical help immediately if you or a loved one suffer from a chronic cough and begin coughing up white or pink mucus.


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