December 20, 2014
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Heart

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Symptoms of heart disease

Heart disease symptoms may result from the body or brain not receiving enough oxygen and nutrients (e.g., excess fatigue, pain, dizziness, shortness of breath) or from a portion of the heart not receiving enough oxygen (e.g., chest pain).

Symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the specific heart condition, but many symptoms are similar between types. Symptoms can vary in severity depending on extent of heart disease.

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

In its early stages, coronary artery disease (CAD) may not produce any symptoms, but as the disease progresses and arteries start to become blocked, the most common symptoms are:

  • chest pain, pressure, or squeezing that may move to the arms, jaw, neck, back, or throat
  • choking sensation
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • vague chest discomfort

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor or get immediate medical attention.

Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)

The symptoms of an arrhythmia depend on the type and severity of the arrhythmia and on the health of your heart.

Some symptoms of arrhythmias include:

  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • shortness of breath
  • tiredness
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately or get immediate medical attention.

Heart failure

The symptoms of heart failure include:

  • shortness of breath, especially when you lie down
  • tiredness
  • swollen ankles, feet or legs
  • coughing
  • sudden weight gain
  • decrease in appetite

If you experience any symptoms of heart failure, contact your doctor. If your symptoms are severe, get immediate medical attention.

Heart valve disease

Heart valve disease symptoms result from the heart muscle not getting enough blood or the heart not pumping enough blood to the body. The most common symptoms of heart valve disease include:

  • chest pain
  • extreme tiredness
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, or hands

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)

Many of the symptoms of heart muscle disease are similar to other heart problems. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have heart muscle disease and should contact your doctor or get immediate medical attention:

  • shortness of breath
  • pounding or fast heartbeat
  • dizziness or fainting
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, or hands

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease is heart disease that's already present at birth. Symptoms of congenital heart disease include:

  • shortness of breath or fast breathing
  • heart murmur
  • poor feeding or weight gain in babies
  • bluish lips or fingernails
  • tiredness, especially during activity

If your baby or child shows any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Keep in mind that not everyone experiences the same symptoms of heart disease and that the severity of the symptoms is different for each person. Some people with heart disease have no symptoms at all and may not be diagnosed until symptoms appear.


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