Symptoms Of Heart Disease

Heart disease describes a number of conditions affecting the heart. Heart diseases include:

  • Blood vessel disease, such as coronary artery disease
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Heart problems you're born with (congenital heart defects)
  • Disease of the heart muscle
  • Heart valve disease
  • Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with the healthy lifestyle.


Heart disease symptoms depend on the types of heart disease.

Symptoms Of Heart Disease In The Blood Vessels

Coronary artery disease is a very common heart disease that affects the major blood vessels that supply the heart muscle. Cholesterol deposits in the heart arteries are usually the cause of coronary artery disease. Buildup of these plaques is called atherosclerosis (ath-ur-o-skluh-ROE-sis). Atherosclerosis reduces blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body. This can lead to the heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

Symptoms of coronary artery disease can be different in men and women. For example, men are more likely to have chest pain. Women are more likely to experience chest discomfort as well as other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme tiredness.

Symptoms of coronary artery disease can include:

  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper belly area or back
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the legs or arms if the blood vessels in those body areas are narrowed

You may not be diagnosed with coronary artery disease unless you have had a heart attack, angina, stroke, or heart failure. It is important to watch for heart symptoms and discuss concerns with your health care provider. Heart disease can sometimes be detected early with regular health checkups.

Heart Disease Symptoms Caused By Irregular Heartbeats (Heart Arrhythmias)

The heart may beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Heart arrhythmia symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)

Heart Disease Symptoms Caused By Congenital Heart Defects

Serious congenital heart defects usually are noticed soon after birth. Congenital heart defect symptoms in children could include:

  • Pale gray or blue skin or lips (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, belly area or areas around the eyes
  • In an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain

Less serious congenital heart defects are often not diagnosed until later in childhood or during adulthood. Symptoms of a congenital heart defect that are usually not immediately life-threatening include:

  • Easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity
  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Swelling of the hands, ankles or feet

Heart Disease Symptoms Caused By Diseased Heart Muscle (Cardiomyopathy)

There may be no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of cardiomyopathy. As the condition worsens, symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling short of breath during activity or at rest
  • Feeling short of breath at night when trying to sleep or waking up short of breath
  • Irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
  • Swollen legs, ankles or feet

Heart Disease Symptoms Caused By Diseased HeartValve Problems (Valvular Heart Disease)

The heart has four valves - the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves. They are open and close to move blood through the heart. Many things can damage heart valves. A heart valve may become narrowed (stenosis), leaky (regurgitation or insufficiency) or improperly closed (prolapse).

Valvular heart disease is also called heart valve disease. Depending on which valve is not working properly, symptoms of heart valve disease generally include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen feet or ankles

Endocarditis is an infection that affects the heart valves and the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium). Symptoms of endocarditis may include:

  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Fever
  • Heartbeat changes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin rashes or unusual spots
  • Swelling of the legs or belly area
  • Weakness or fatigue

When To See Doctor

Seek emergency medical care if you have these heart disease symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting

Always call a medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.

Heart disease is easier to treat when it is detected in early stage. If you have any concerns about your heart health, talk to your doctor. Together, you and your doctor can discuss the problem so that he\she can reduce your risk of heart disease. This is especially very important if you have a family history of heart disease.

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