The worst part about heart disease is that if it strikes you in the form of a heart attack, the chances of survival become very bleak.
And these days, even the young are not spared. According to research, sudden deaths in those younger than 35 are often caused by one or the other heart disease. In fact, 1 in every 50,000 young athletes dies due to a sudden cardiac arrest every year (1).
While some of the symptoms of heart problems are difficult to notice, many others are often ignored due to lack of awareness and their similarity with symptoms of gastric problems.
However, there’s one simple and clear-cut way to know if you have any kind of heart conditions or not. Let’s take a look at it below.
The Toe-Touch Test To Detect Heart Disease
Well, this might sound strange but a recent study has proven that there’s a link between your body’s flexibility and your heart health. What the study claims is that if you are flexible enough to touch your toes without any difficulty, you have a healthy heart.
This study was conducted by theAmerican Physiological Society in the state of Texas, USA (2). 526 participants took part in it, aged between 20 and 83. The participants selected were healthy, never smoked, and had a BMI below 30. Each of them was asked to sit on the floor and touch their toes without bending their knees. While the participants tried to touch their toes with their fingers, their blood pressure was monitored and the activity of their heart and arteries was also observed and taken into account.
After all the researchers were done making their observations, they analyzed the results and found out that participants who were suffering from a heart disease were completely unable to touch their toes.
The researchers mentioned that the key to this finding lay in the link between the body and elasticity of its arteries, especially in those participants who were over the age of 40. Since stiffness of arteries is considered to be a prelude to heart disease, the results of this study suggest that you can find out the status of your heart just by performing this very easy exercise.
If your heart is in good health, the blood vessels in your heart should be elastic, according to this study. And although stiffness of arteries increases with age, which makes it a risk factor for heart diseases; those who are physically fit generally have a flexible body. The researchers then hypothesized that this flexibility of the body can help determine the flexibility of the arteries quickly and easily. The results are something you already know.
How Can You Carry Out The ‘Toe Test’ At Home?
Doing the toe test at home is extremely easy. Find a comfortable spot in your house where you can stretch your legs freely. Now spread a mat on the floor and sit on it in comfortable clothing that does not hinder movement in any way. Keeping your back to the wall, stretch your legs out straight. Now bring your arms forward by bending your waist and try to touch your toes with the help of your finger. Remember not to bend your legs or knees in any way.
Your results will be calculated depending on how far you managed to reach. If you managed to touch your toes without much effort, you have excellent flexibility and your heart is perfectly fine. However, if you weren’t able to reach your toes, i.e. you managed to reach your ankles or your calves, your flexibility is lacking and there might be something wrong with your heart.
What Are Some Of The Other Indicators Of Poor Cardiovascular Health?
While the toe test is a great way to know the status of your cardiovascular health, you shouldn’t entirely depend on the results of any one test to assess what’s wrong or not with your heart. Here are some other symptoms you need to keep an eye out for (3):
- Discomfort in the chest is a very common sign that your heart is in danger. Discomfort can range from tightness, pain, and even pressure in the chest.
- Symptoms that you often confuse with those of stomach ailments such as heartburn, indigestion, stomach pain or nausea can also be indicative of heart disease.
- Radiating pain that spreads to your left arm or side of the body can be a heart attack.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness.
- Pain in the jaw or throat.
- Getting tired way too easily coupled with shortness of breath.
- Sweating profusely for no apparent reason.
- Constant coughing that doesn’t heal with time or medication.
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
- Irregularity in your heartbeat that lasts more than a couple of seconds.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call the emergency hotline at once. Even though the cause behind any of these symptoms might be easily curable, it’ll still be smarter to get your symptoms checked out.