Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Are there any ways to tell if someone is going to have heart trouble?"

ZocdocAnswersAre there any ways to tell if someone is going to have heart trouble?


How do you know if someone is going to have a heart attack or heart trouble? Are there warning signs? I'm afraid for my mother, who doesn't really take care of herself. She smokes and eats bad food. How can you tell if someone's heart is in trouble?


The danger of heart attacks, is that they may not always have warning signs. Therefore, the most important first step for your mother will be preventing heart attacks and working to protect her health. You should encourage her to see her primary care doctor, who will be able to perform a complete checkup and give her advice. Typically, a primary care doctor will look for any risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and they will work with your mother to address any of those problems if they are found. Furthermore, the fact that your mother does smoke puts her at much higher risk of heart trouble than if she did not smoke. This is also another issue that she can address with her doctor, who will be able to counsel her on resources and medications that can help her stop smoking. If your mother ever complains of trouble breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain, or trouble with exercise, these may all be signs of an impending heart attack. If she experiences these symptoms, she would need to go immediately to an emergency room for rapid evaluation and treatment in order to prevent a heart attack.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.