Heart Signs and Symptoms You May Not Know About

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Most people are well aware of the common symptoms of heart disease. But there are eight other signs and symptoms that could indicate you have an underlying heart problem.

In this article, I’ll cover:

We’ve all been taught these signs of a significant heart problem, such as a heart attack:

  • Chest pain
  • Left arm pain
  • Left jaw and shoulder pain
  • Cold sweats

a photo of a woman having chest pain

I’m referring specifically to a deeper problem with your heart that could mean an artery becoming clogged, your heart muscle losing its elasticity and becoming rigid, the ventricle - which acts as a pump - becoming dilated and reducing its effectiveness, or perhaps even your entire heart becoming enlarged. Any of these problems could result in the well-known symptoms I listed above.

But you might not be aware of other signs that can also indicate heart problems, even though they can go under the radar. So let’s take a look at eight symptoms that hardly anyone connects to heart disease, because I want you to know if you’re at risk.


#1 Chronic Cough When Lying Down

If you perpetually cough when you’re lying down, this could be a sign of heart problems, especially if you know you’re already at risk for heart disease. And If you have a long-lasting cough that produces a white or pink mucus, it could be a sign of heart failure. Your heart can't keep up with the demands of your body, causing blood to leak back into your lungs.

Although a chronic cough while you’re lying down could signal a calcium deficiency, or some kind of weakness within your immune system, such as a viral infection, it could also mean you have an underlying heart problem.

#2 Nausea

Nausea is often non-specific. It could be your gallbladder acting up. Your stomach or your overall digestion could be compromised. But it also could signal a heart issue. Context is important. Do you have any of the other signs and symptoms I’ve mentioned?

If you do, it’s worth considering if you may have at least early-stage heart disease.

a photo of a young man who has nausea


#3 Swelling In Your Lower Legs

If your lower legs or ankles are swollen, this too is another sign of potential cardiovascular issues. Particularly if the swelling is on the left side, since your heart is of course on your left side. (If you have more swelling on the right side, that could be a liver-related problem.)

The reason you experience swelling in your lower legs is because your heart is losing its function as a pump, and fluid is backing up in the lower part of your body.

#4 Pitting Edema

Pitting edema is related to swelling in your lower legs. If you press your finger into the swelling in your lower legs, ankles, or feet, the pressure leaves a dent in the tissue after you lift your finger back up.

Again, this is because you have fluid backing up into your tissues, because your heart’s pumping ability is compromised.

#5 Fainting

Fainting happens for a variety of reasons, and can be as non-specific a symptom as is nausea. The medical term for fainting is syncope. It’s a temporary loss of consciousness usually related to insufficient blood flow to the brain. This can be due to your heart not pumping enough oxygen to your brain.

#6 You Have No Energy When You Exert Yourself

When you start to exercise, and you have no energy to keep going, that’s possibly because your heart has an underlying problem. As well, it could also be that you’re out of shape - but don’t dismiss the idea that it could be a heart issue.

a woman out of breath from jogging

#7 Your Legs Are Heavy And You’re Out Of Breath When You Climb The Stairs

Although this may indicate an issue with your adrenals, it could also be heart related, since your adrenals support your heart.

#8 Ascites

Ascites is a situation where you have a protruding belly caused by fluid leaking from your liver. The fluid accumulates and ultimately can put pressure that spreads to your heart.

Although it may look like you have belly fat, it’s actually fluid. If you’ve ever seen a skinny man on the beach who has a pot belly, he could have ascites.

Now that you have a more complete picture about some symptoms related to heart disease, let’s take a look at what you can do to improve your heart health.


How To Improve Your Heart Health

Coronary Artery Calcium Test

Get a coronary artery calcium test (CAC). This is the most important test you can get. It measures the amount of calcium in the coronary artery around your heart, and it’s one of the best predictors of mortality from heart attacks.

The ideal score is zero. That’s right; ideally, you’ll have no calcification in your coronary artery.

a drawing showing the inside of a clear artery and another with placque built up

Vitamin K2 and D3

Take vitamin K2, because it keeps the calcium out of your arteries and in your bones where it belongs. K2 is especially potent when taken together with vitamin D3. These two are the most important vitamins you can take for cardiovascular health.

Vitamin E

The next most important vitamin you can take is vitamin E. But please, don’t take the typical synthetic form. Get a high quality, non-synthetic kind that has tocopherols.

The reason vitamin E is so important for heart health is that it will protect the inside of your arteries from oxidation and increase the oxygen in your heart muscle tissue to prevent scarring and fibrosis of your heart.

As well, it helps make all of your muscles stronger. You’ll notice when you take it that you'll feel stronger. There’s also some interesting research that vitamin E will help reduce heart disease symptoms, especially angina.

Leafy green vegetables are naturally high in vitamin E, as are nuts and seeds.

Get off carbohydrates immediately

Eating a high carbohydrate diet contributes to clogging your arteries, primarily because it raises your Fat Storing Hormone levels. Not to mention a high-carb diet fills your liver with fat, which adds to the pressure on your heart.

a photo of the words ketogenic diet surrounded by keto foods

The remedy? Go on the low-carbohydrate Healthy KetoTM diet. You can get plenty of information and support on my website as well as my YouTube channel.


Intermittent fasting is vitally important to reduce inflammation and help you get into ketosis.

Your heart actually prefers ketones as fuel as opposed to carbs, especially if it’s damaged. When you fast, along with being on the keto diet, you significantly boost your ketone production. Additionally, you can add in MCT oil to further increase your ketones to nourish your heart and your brain too, since your brain also prefers ketones for fuel.

Long walks

Take long walks on a flat surface. This will keep exercise stress low while allowing lots of oxygen into your body.

And speaking of getting oxygen into your body, keep reading.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an effective way to infuse your cells with a high amount of oxygen. When your heart is damaged, you have what’s called hypoxia, which is when the oxygen levels in your tissues fall too low to support robust health.

Now you know what to do to give your heart health a boost. These are all very straightforward steps that you can do starting today. I encourage you to get going, so you can protect your heart right away.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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