10 Warning Signs of Declining Heart Health – And The Steps You Can Take to Fix It

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You quit smoking and you feel great. Maybe you’re not ready to run a marathon, but you’re definitely in better shape than you were while going through three packs a day.

As a smoker, I was especially concerned about my health. That’s what first inspired me to quit. As a former smoker, I am especially grateful for good health.

You probably knew, as I did, that smoking harms every part of your body, including your heart.  But you may not realize that heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. According to WebMD, this so-called silent killer claims more lives than all cancers combined.

If you are, or were, a smoker, you’re at greater risk; some 20 percent of all heart disease deaths are related to smoking.

But heart disease affects smokers and nonsmokers alike. It may be a considered a silent killer, but if you fine-tune your “listening” skills, you can “hear” your heart health declining and take proactive measures to fix it.

I’ll show you 10 easy signs — or symptoms — to look for and five simple steps you can take to put your heart health back on track.


10 Signs of Deteriorating Heart Health


1. Anxiety:

Heart attack survivors often say they had a sense of impending doom. It could be a beautiful day and you shouldn’t have a care in the world, but you can’t shake this feeling that something terrible is going to happen.

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2. Chest Discomfort:

You may be out on the golf course or shopping at the mall, and you feel pain or discomfort in your chest. It could also manifest itself as pain or pressure.  Chest discomfort in the number one telltale sign of a heart attack.

3. Breathlessness:

Say you’re walking from the car to a restaurant with friends. By the time you reach the entrance, you’re short of breath but everyone else seems to have taken the jaunt in stride. You feel as if you ran a mile, when in reality, you secured one of the closest parking spaces in the lot. If this has happened to you, you may suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

4. Chronic Coughing or Wheezing:

Persistent coughing or wheezing is a dead giveaway of heart disease. Have you ever tried to hold a conversation with someone who coughed and wheezed more than they spoke? Or have you been the one coughing and wheezing?

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5. Rapid or Irregular Pulse:

Don’t be alarmed by a skipped heartbeat here or there. Doctors say it’s when you have a consistently rapid or irregular pulse that you should become concerned. That can signal a heart attack, heart failure or something known as arrhythmia, which can lead to stroke or sudden death.

6. Nausea or Loss of Appetite:

There are many reasons you may feel nauseous from time to time, but if you start throwing up for no apparent reason, your heart may be desperately trying to get your attention. Same can be said if you suddenly lose your appetite. Doctors say abdominal swelling associated with heart attacks can interfere with appetites.

7. Swelling:

You may normally experience swelling of your feet, legs and ankles when you’ve been on them all day at work, or if it’s especially hot and humid outside. But if there are no environmental conditions or Thanksgiving feasts to explain why your shoes or pants are suddenly too tight, your heart health may be in danger.

8. Pain:

Imagine you are hanging out with friends, watching the latest season of “Downton Abbey”. Out of the blue, you feel pain in your arms, shoulders or neck. Experts say in the event of a heart attack, pain may begin in the chest, but spill into other parts of the body. In some cases, there is no chest pain, but you may be hurting in other parts of your body.

9. Dizziness:

You know that feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness you get from standing up too quickly? Well, that same type of dizziness can be a red flag for heart disease, particularly a heart attack or arrhythmia. If you lose consciousness and pass out, your heart isn’t just waving the red flag, it’s knocking you out with it.

10. Sweating:

Have you ever been relaxed, just reading the newspaper or a magazine, when suddenly you’ve broken into a cold sweat? You’ve barely moved, let alone exercised, and you’re drenched. That’s a sign that your heart health may not only be deteriorating, you could be having a full-on heart attack.

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Steps to Reverse Declining Heart Health

If you see or “hear” any of these signs in your body, make an appointment with your doctor. Then you can get to work on reversing your declining heart health. Here are five steps I recommend to ensure optimum heart health:

1. Don’t Smoke:

If you smoke, QUIT. Forget what you’ve heard. Kicking the habit is easy with the right approach, such as The Kerry Gaynor Method. I’ve seen it time and time again, even with the skeptics like me.

2. Exercise Regularly:

Most medical experts agree that just 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity per day can make a positive impact on your heart health. According to Healthline.com, your heart needs exercise, just like the other muscles in your body. If 30 minutes sounds overwhelming, start with five or 10.

3. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet:

You go out to eat and order a double cheeseburger and large fries. There’s a reason that’s often called a “heart attack on a plate.” The Mayo Clinic recommends choosing plenty of fruits and vegetables, choosing whole over refined grains, and dramatically limiting saturated and other unhealthy fats. Hint: Healthy meals are more easily achieved in your own kitchen with fresh ingredients.

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4. Get Quality Sleep:

Do you know that when you sleep your body is busy repairing itself? The National Institute for Health says sleep is necessary for your body to heal the heart and blood vessels. Additionally, the National Health, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), reports that sleep deficiency is linked to, among other conditions, heart disease and stroke.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Combined, you and I can both can find a million excuses for ongoing weight gain, but the fact is, there is no good excuse. You can maintain a healthy weight by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Many health experts use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine an individual’s healthy weight.  Visit the NHLBI’s website to calculate your ideal BMI.


Back on Heart-Health Track

As you’ve seen, some signs or symptoms of deteriorating heart health are more urgent (and obvious) than others, signifying a potential heart attack. If you have chest pains or cold sweats, call 911.

But now you also have the tools  to detect the quieter signs that your heart health is declining, along with the tools needed to fix it. But don’t depend entirely on yourself. Work with your family doctor and get regular screenings to ensure optimum heart health.


What’s Your Story?

Have you had any signs of deteriorating heart health or an all-out heart-health scare? If so, what happened? Most importantly, what steps did you take to turn your cardio condition around?

I’d love to learn from your experiences. Chances are others would, too, and it might just save someone’s life.


Andrew Shack

The original member of the team along with Kerry, Andrew Shack dedicates everything to saving lives day by day. A former Executive Vice President of Capitol Records, Andrew was referred to Kerry from a friend with a healthy dose of business-like skepticism. His exact response when he learned about The Method was, "You're joking right?". His results were no joke. His transformation from 2 packs a day to no cravings set into motion the next 3 years of developing a system to bring The Method to a larger audience. Years later, he still hasn't picked up another cigarette.



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