This article will address the symptoms of various types of heart disease. Some people live their whole lives without ever having a heart attack. The manifestation of symptoms may mimic feelings of anxiety, and heartburn. If you are concerned about the warning signs of heart disease, and when you should seek medical help, read on.
The symptoms of heart disease will vary because there are many types of heart disease. For instance the manifestations of heart disease include coronary artery disease (CAD), atrial fibrillation, heart valve disease, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, pericarditis, history of heart attacks, congenital heart defects, and others. The symptoms of each of these types of heart disease will be addressed separately.
Coronary artery disease – One major symptom of CAD is angina. Many think of angina as a diagnosis, but actually angina is a symptom. Angina is the medical term for chest pain. Angina can manifest as pain felt under the breast bone, in the back, pressure and squeezing feelings in the chest and back. There also may be pain felt down the left arm – sometimes both arms – and also pain manifested in the jaw, neck and throat.
Other symptoms associated with coronary artery disease include palpitations, fast heartbeat, profuse sweating, nausea, feeling dizzy and shortness of breath. The palpitations are irregular heartbeats. They feel like a fish flopping in your chest. Sometimes it makes you feel out of breath. Most times a person feels palpitations while they are at rest. You may be in bed trying to sleep, but the palpitations in your chest keep you awake.
Atrial fibrillation – The symptoms of atrial fibrillation include irregular heart rate which may be very fast followed by very slow heartbeats. Other symptoms include palpitations, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting and confusion. The symptoms may happen suddenly and then the heart may start back beating normally again.
Heart valve disease – The symptoms of heart valve disease are very much like the ones mentioned above. With heart valve disease you may also feel like a weight is on your chest, shortness of breath, weakness, feeling dizzy, feeling like you are smothering because you can’t catch your breath, and anxiety.
Cardiomyopathy – The symptoms of cardiomyopathy worsen over time due to the heart muscle becoming weaker and thicker. The heart enlarges to try to compensate for its inability to pump blood effectively. This condition ends up with congestive heart failure which is a heart and pulmonary (lung) condition. The symptoms include weakness, irregular heartbeats, chest pain and pain that radiates into the back. Eventually the heart gets so weak that if fails and the person will expire.
Pericarditis – The symptoms of pericarditis include severe chest pain that feels like a knife stabbing you in the chest. This stabbing pain is caused by inflammation of the pericardium, which is the membranous sac that encases the heart. The pain may be felt in the chest, in the shoulder or neck area and even the back area. The onset of the pain may be gradual or it may be swift, depending on the person and the degree of inflammation or infection in the pericardial sac.
Myocardial infarction (heart attack) – Symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, nausea, radiating pain down the arms (usually the left arm), in the jaw, neck, throat and shoulder, and also heaviness in the chest – this pain is often described as something very heavy sitting on one’s chest. A person having a heart attack is also probably having fast irregular heartbeats, and feels extremely anxious with profuse sweating. A person having a heart attack may also experience the heart stopping and sudden death will result.
Congenital heart defects – Congenital heart defects are defects that a child is born with. The symptoms of congenital heart defects depend on the defect. Another article will address the different types of congenital heart defects and their symptoms.
Oftentimes, a person with heart disease might not even know it until the symptoms become significant enough to send him or her to the doctor. Then again, there are people who die suddenly of a heart attack and had no history of heart disease. If you have chest pain or any of the symptoms listed above, consult with your physician. Don’t put it off by thinking it’s only indigestion, or it’s only a few aches and pains. If you are feeling dull pain under the breast bone, or in your jaw, neck, throat, shoulder or back, see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of heart disease.
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