Unusual indicators for heart health

Heart disease continues to be the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the U.S. While we know the most common signs that we might develop this condition - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc - there are other factors that aren't as well known that could impact your risk. Let's take a look at some unusual indicators to watch for patient heart health:

Heart

1. Walking speed

Do you walk at a leisurely pace or like a person on a mission? The difference could actually make an impact on your heart health. A study by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Center revealed that those that described themselves as slow walkers were twice as likely to have a heart-related death, Newsmax reported. The rationale here is that self-reported walking pace was linked to how individuals perceived their fitness, and that those who were more active were less apt to experience heart conditions.

Walking speed can be an indicator of heart health.

2. Symptoms by gender

While heart disease has proven to attack without gender discrimination, the symptoms of the condition differ between men and women. According to WILX, women experience more subtle signs like jaw and back pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Because these indicators are less obvious, it makes heart attacks more difficult to detect and deadlier for women. On the other hand, men have more typical manifestations like chest pain or pain radiating to the arms. These differences will be important to determining a patient's risk, identifying if an attack is happening and getting help right away.

"Individuals with short ring fingers are at a higher risk for heart disease."

3. Length of your ring finger

Our hands can tell us a lot about our health, but we're not reading palm lines today. Research from the University of Liverpool found that individuals with short ring fingers are at a higher risk for heart disease once they're over 40 years old. Those with a ring finger longer than their pointer finger typically have a decreased risk due to higher fetal testosterone exposure. While this isn't a sure sign that a patient will have heart disease, his or her digits could be an important factor to keep in mind for the future.

4. Dizziness when standing

If individuals feel light-headed for a few minutes when they stand up suddenly, it could indicate a blood flow issue. Research from the University of North Carolina found that people that encounter this prolonged dizziness are 54 percent more likely to experience heart failure. If a patient has this issue, especially if they're younger than 55 years old, it's important to visit them right away to head off any potential issues, lower their risk and provide treatment.

Heart disease is a big concern for many Americans. By understanding both the traditional and unusual factors, it will be easier for patients to assess their own risk and get treatment. Doctors must provide information that will help patients head off heart attacks and identify when they need help, ensuring that they're prepared for emergency situations.