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What are the symptoms of heart disease?

30 June 2015

There are many symptoms that may signal heart trouble. Symptoms of the most common forms of heart disease include:

1. Coronary heart disease:

There are three serious diseases caused by atherosclerosis. Each has its own warning symptoms and signs:

  • Coronary artery disease: The warning sign for atherosclerosis in the heart is chest pain on exertion, or angina. It's often described as tightness and goes away with rest. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath or fatigue. Angina can be stable (predictable) or unstable (a warning sign that a heart attack may occur). Other symptoms may include shortness of breath or fatigue.
  • Cerebrovascular disease: This disease is caused by problems that affect the blood supply to the brain. Here, a mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) may happen before a stroke. Difficulty speaking or weakness on one side are symptoms of both strokes and TIAs. In a TIA, however, the symptoms go away and do not leave permanent brain injury.
  • Peripheral arterial disease: The legs usually show symptoms of poor circulation first. Pain in the calf muscles when walking is the most common symptom.

2. Arrhythmia:

This can be silent and not cause any symptoms. A doctor can detect an irregular heartbeat during a physical exam by taking your pulse or through an electrocardiogram (ECG).

When symptoms of an arrhythmia do occur, they may include:

  • Palpitations
  • Pounding in your chest
  • Dizziness or feeling light-headed
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weakness or fatigue

3. Rheumatic fever symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Painful and tender joints
  • Joint pain that spreads to another joint
  • Red, hot or swollen joints
  • Small, painless nodules beneath the skin
  • Chest pain
  • Heart murmur
  • Fatigue
  • A flat or slightly raised, painless rash

4. High blood pressure, or hypertension:

Hypertension is often called a "silent killer" because it usually has no signs or symptoms. Sometimes people with markedly elevated blood pressure may develop headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, chest pain and shortness of breath.

The following types of organ damage are commonly seen in chronic high blood pressure:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke or TIA
  • Kidney failure
  • Eye damage
  • Aneurysms

5. Heart failure symptoms:

These may vary, depending on what type of heart disease you have. However, they may have similar warning signs. These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • A faster heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • General weakness
  • Swelling in your lower limbs

6. Heart attack symptoms:

Although chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack, heart attack victims may experience a variety of symptoms that include:

  • Pain, fullness and/or squeezing sensation of the chest
  • Jaw pain, toothache, headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • Arm pain
  • Upper back pain
  • General fatigue

About a quarter of heart attacks are silent, without chest pain or new symptoms, and silent heart attacks are especially common among patients with diabetes.

How Clicks Clinics can help you

Clicks Clinics will help you prevent or manage heart disease with their wide range of screening tests. These include:

  • Blood Pressure (BP) Test
  • Cholesterol Testing and Consultation
  • Lipogram Blood Test (to determine different types of cholesterol)
  • Clicks Full Basic Screening (BP, Body Mass Index or BMI, meal guide and exercise plan)
  • Clicks Screening Measurements only (BP and BMI)
  • Clicks Comprehensive Screening (BP, BMI, Glucose and Cholesterol screening, plus meal and exercise plan)

To make an appointment at a Clicks Clinic, call 0860 254 257 or visit Clicks Clinics online

For more info

The Heart and Stroke Foundation

Read More: Heart Disease Super Section