Signs of Trouble – Symptoms of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the most common cause of death and premature death in the UK. Unfortunately, it often remains undetected until it starts to cause problems but it is often accompanied by signs which indicate that you may have a problem with your heart.
Symptoms of heart disease depend on the type of heart disease you have. Most people develop the so-called coronary heart disease which is caused by narrowed or blocked blood vessels, not supplying your heart or/and other organs with enough blood. Symptoms of coronary heart disease may include:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- numbness or/and coldness in the affected part of the body, usually the extremities
Coronary heart disease can also cause sweating, fast or irregular heartbeat, weakness and nausea.
Heart arrhythmia is a potentially serious condition which involves irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). The most characteristic symptom are occasional irregular heart beats or palpitations, feeling like having skipped heart beats or flip-flops in your chest. Heart arrhythmia can also be accompanied by shortness of breath, chest discomfort, dizziness and weakness.
Congenital heart defects or heart defects which are acquired at birth are usually discovered during early childhood but they sometimes remain undiagnosed for many years. They typically are not life-threatening but you are recommended to call your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms such as: - swelling of feet, ankles or arms - easily get tired and short of breath during physical activity
It is also possible to develop the so-called valvular heart disease which involves improper functioning of one of four heart valves such as improper closing and leaking. Symptoms depend on the type of the affected heart valve and may include shortness of breath, chest pain, swollen feet, irregular heartbeat and fainting.
Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) refers to stiffening of the heart muscle which usually does not cause any symptoms until the heart function worsens. Its symptoms most often include chest pain, leg swelling, irregular heart beats and fatigue.
The last type of heart disease is myocarditis or heart infection which can occur due to infection with a viruses. Symptoms depend on the infectious agent but besides the common heart disease symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, etc. typically also include fever.
If left untreated, most types of heart disease can lead to heart failure or inability of the heart to pump enough blood. Fortunately, the condition can often be successfully treated. It is crucial, however, to receive medical treatment as soon as possible which is why you should watch for the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the extremities
- getting tired easily during physical activity
- abdominal swelling
- weakness, fatigue
- irregular or rapid heartbeat
- persistent cough or wheezing
It is possible to have chronic or acute heart failure. In the first case, symptoms develop slowly over a longer period of time. In acute heart failure, symptoms occur suddenly.
In addition to watching for signs of heart disease, it is also important to get regular screenings for blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. Unfortunately, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes all of which dramatically increase the risk of heart attack often do not cause any symptoms until they have already progressed. You are therefore highly recommended to get regular screenings because early detection and treatment will help you keep the mentioned conditions under control and prevent them from damaging your heart.