A doctor has warned that there are six 'subtle' and  'overlooked' signs of heart disease that people should not ignore. 

Despite being one of the leading causes of death worldwide, many people often don't pay attention to the early warning signs of Coronary heart disease.

In fact, these 'red flags' can often be mistaken for other minor health issues. 

Around 68,000 deaths are linked to Coronary heart disease every year, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Dr Igor Troickis, a renowned bariatric surgeon from Weight Loss Riga, has emphasised how important it is to recognise these subtle symptoms before they develop into more severe health complications at a later date.

Early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes and quality of life," he said.

Ignoring these signs can lead to serious, often irreversible damage."

Who is at risk of heart disease?

Like any condition, there are certain groups that are more susceptible to developing heart disease.

This includes individuals who have a family history of heart disease as well as smokers, those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, diabetics, and people who are obese. 

"Obesity is a significant risk factor," Dr Troickis explained.

"Excess body weight puts extra strain on the heart, increases blood pressure, and raises cholesterol levels, all of which contribute to the development of heart disease."

Signs and symptoms of heart disease to look out for

Chest discomfort

"Heart disease often creeps up silently," warned Dr Troickis. 

He went on to say: "Many individuals experience mild symptoms that they dismiss as stress or ageing. However, these signs are crucial indicators that something is wrong."

The doctor pointed out that one of the most common early signs is chest discomfort.

"Chest pain or discomfort, known as angina, can feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the centre of the chest. It might come and go, lasting a few minutes at a time," he said.

"This symptom should never be ignored, especially if it occurs during physical activity or stress."

Shortness of breath

Another red flag to look for according to the health expert is shortness of breath.

"If you find yourself struggling to catch your breath during routine activities or while at rest, it could be a sign that your heart isn't pumping efficiently," Dr Troickis said.

"This symptom is often overlooked but can be a critical indicator of underlying heart problems."

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Unusual fatigue

Dr Troickis also highlighted the significance of unusual fatigue.

"Persistent, unexplained fatigue can signal heart disease," he said.

"If you're constantly feeling tired despite getting enough rest, it's time to consult a doctor."

Swelling in legs, ankles, or feet

Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet is another symptom to watch for.

"Edema, or swelling, can indicate that your heart is struggling to pump blood effectively," Dr Troickis said.

He continued: "It's often accompanied by weight gain and should be evaluated promptly."

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Heart palpitations

Heart palpitations, or a racing or irregular heartbeat, can also be an early warning sign.

"While palpitations can result from anxiety or caffeine, frequent occurrences warrant medical attention," advised Dr Troickis.

Pain in other parts of the body

Finally, Dr Troickis points out that pain in other parts of the body can be related to heart disease.

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"Pain radiating to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back, especially on the left side, should raise immediate concern,” he said.

"Recognising these early signs and seeking medical advice promptly can make a significant difference," Dr Troickis added. "Early detection and treatment are vital in preventing the progression of heart disease."

If you experience any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to consult a healthcare professional. Early intervention can save lives.