Behind closed doors: 5 heart disease signs to watch for in the bedroom

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Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC, FAHA, is the director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Program and an associate professor of medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. That’s why symptoms shouldn’t go ignored. Some heart disease indicators might reveal themselves only in the privacy of your bedroom. Take note of these five warning signs:

1. Chest pain during sex

For some women, chest pain during sex might be the first time they discover they have chest pain at all. This pain is exertional chest pain (occurring during activity or stress), resulting from plaque buildup that blocks blood flow in arteries. If you haven’t been active otherwise, this pain could first present itself during sex.

2. Hot flashes at night

The frequency of hot flashes can vary among women, but some women experience them more often at night. Whether the hot flashes are experienced at night or during the day, there is an increased risk of heart disease for women who experience hot flashes at an earlier-than-average age (before about 45) or go through the stages of menopause at an accelerated rate.

3. Erectile dysfunction

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction share many of the same symptoms. If you or your partner is showing signs of erectile dysfunction, he should also be screened for heart disease.

4. Snoring

In addition to waking up your partner, snoring can sound an alarm for heart issues in both men and women. If snoring leads to interrupted breathing, or sleep apnea, it could be an underlying cause of heart disease. Researchers have linked the lack of oxygen during these breathing lapses to high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure.

5. Heart palpitations while resting

Have you noticed your heart beating more quickly than normal, skipping beats, or stopping momentarily while you’re at rest? You could be at risk for heart disease. Though most people experience heart palpitations at some point, frequent extra beats or palpitations that feel different than normal are signs that you should see your doctor.

This article first appeared in Healthy Living Magazine.


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