One reason that heart disease becomes the number one killer is that many people are slow to seek help when symptoms arise. At worst, many even don’t know the symptoms. For one thing, most CVD symptoms are not always intense or obvious, and they vary between individuals.

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world. A WHO report estimated that 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2008 alone, and by 2030, more than 23 million people will die annually from CVDs.

Learning to recognize the symptoms of cardiac diseases can save lives. So staying informed is one step towards prevention. Below, we’ll share 10 warning signs of cardiac disease that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Chest pain

Chest pain is a classic symptom of heart attacks, but not in all cases. Jean C. McSweeney, researcher at the University of Arkansas School of Medical Science and Disease said that this is the first symptom people look for, however, it doesn’t appear in every case. McSweeney stated that this pain feels like “an elephant sitting on your chest” but can also manifest as an uncomfortable feeling of pressure or fullness.

2. Dizziness and difficulty in breathing

Dizziness and difficulty in breathing are signs that can indicate a heart attack. These types of symptoms can lead to the loss of consciousness and indicate heart abnormalities, like arrhythmia.

3. Short of breath

Losing your breath without exerting much effort, or while resting, can be a sign of pulmonary diseases like asthma or chronic pulmonary obstruction. Likewise, it can also signal a heart attack or cardiac insufficiency. During a heart attack, difficulty breathing can be accompanied by chest pain, but not in all cases.

4. Fatigue

This symptom especially affects women and can occur during a heart attack or days, hours and even weeks before. Often feeling fatigued can be a sign of some sort of cardiac deficiency.

Of course, this symptom can also be a sign of another disease or health disorder. It’s best to consult your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis.

5. Nausea or lack of appetite

Many people experience nausea and vomiting while suffering from a heart attack. In addition, a symptom like abdominal bloating associated with cardiac insufficiency can interfere with appetite.

6. Inflammation

Suffering from cardiac insufficiency can cause an accumulation of liquid in the body. The swelling is noticeable in the feet, ankles, legs and abdomen.

7. Pale or sick looking

Many people appear pale or grey before suffering from a heart attack. As the blood pressure drops, the person will appear visibly sick.

8. Pain in different parts of the body

Chest pain is the most common pain reported during heart attacks. However, this pain can extend into the arms, elbows, spine, neck, jaw or abdomen. In fact, in some cases, the pain doesn’t manifest in the chest, but other areas of the body.

9. Irregular pulse

An occasional change in a pulse is considered normal. However, when the irregularity is accompanied by weakness, dizziness, or difficulty breathing it can be a sign of a heart attack, cardiac insufficiency or arrhythmia.

10. Sweating

Breaking out into a cold sweat, especially while resting, is a sign of a heart attack. This symptom appears right before the attack.