Heart Disease Warning Signs


Symptoms Of Heart Disease

Symptoms Of Heart Disease


Heart disease is an umbrella term which describes many conditions affecting your heart, including:

  • Diseases of the blood vessels (coronary artery disease)
  • Problems with your hearts rhythm (arrhythmias)
  • Congenital heart defects (heart problems you were born with)
  • And others


Heart Disease Symptoms

Heart disease symptoms will vary depending on the type of heart disease. 

Heart disease in blood vessels (atherosclerotic/cardiovascular disease)

Cardiovascular disease may differ between men and women. Men commonly experience chest pain whilst women tend to experience chest discomfort along with other symptoms such as being short of breath, nauseas and fatigued.

Symptoms May Include:

  • Chest discomfort, chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • If the blood vessels in your arms and legs become narrowed you may experience pain, your arms and legs may feel cold, be numb and feel weak
  • You may experience pain in your upper abdomen, back, jaw, throat or neck.


Abnormal Heartbeats  Symptoms (heart arrhythmias)

If you have an arrhythmia your heart may beat too fast, too slow or beat irregularly.

Symptoms May Include:

  • A racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • A slow heartbeat (bradychardia)
  • A fluttering in the chest
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • You may be short of breath
  • Light headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope)


Heart Defects Symptoms

If you are born with a Heart defect they are usually evident soon after birth.

Symptoms Of Heart Defects In Children May Include:

  • Blue or pale grey skin (cyanosis)
  • Swelling around the eyes, abdomen or legs
  • An infant may experience shortness of breath during feeding

Some Congenital Heart Defects Which Are Less Serious May Not Be Diagnosed Until Childhood Or Adulthood.

Signs Of These May Include:

  • Becoming short of breath very easily, especially during physical activity or exercise
  • Becoming tired very easily, especially during physical activity or exercise
  • Swelling in the hands, feet or ankles


Weak Heart Muscle Symptoms (dilated cardiomyopathy)

Cardiomyopathy may have no symptoms in the early stages. As the condition progresses you may experience:

  • Shortness of breath – on exertion or at rest
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles or legs
  • Fatigue
  • Pounding, rapid or fluttering heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting


Heart Infections Symptoms  


Endocarditis – An infection of the inner membrane separating the valves and chambers of the heart.

Symptoms May Include:

  • Fever
  • Short of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Swelling of the abdomen or legs
  • Heart rhythm changes
  • Unusual spots or rashes on the skin
  • Persistent or dry cough


Valvular Heart Disease Symptoms

The heart contains four valves which work in unison to direct blood through the heart (mitral/bicuspid valve, aortic valve, pulmonary valve and tricuspid valve), these valves can be damaged causing them to not close correctly (prolapse), become narrow (stenosis), or leak (regurgitation or insufficiency).

heart valves picture

Symptoms May Vary Depending On What Valve Is damaged But Generally Include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swollen ankles or feet
  • Pain in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting


When to see a doctor

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

  • Chest pain/pressure/discomfort/tightness
  • Short of breath
  • Fainting

If you recognize any of the symptoms in this article see your doctor for a full checkup. Heart disease is much easier to control when diagnosed early.


Risk Factors Of Heart Disease


  • Age – as we age our heart muscle can become thickened or weakened and our arteries narrowed (how much depends on our lifestyle and other factors)
  • Sex – Generally men are at a higher risk of heart disease than women, although after menopause the risk for women increases
  • Family history – Your risk of heart disease increases if there is a family history, especially if someone in your immediate family was diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 55 for a male or 65 for a female
  • Smoking – Heart attacks are more common in smokers than non-smokers. Nicotine can constrict blood vessels and their inner lining can be damaged by carbon monoxide, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis (Heart disease in blood vessels)
  • Unhealthy diet – high levels of salt, sugar, fat and cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease
  • High blood pressure – If your blood pressure is uncontrolled it can lead to thickening and hardening of the arteries which narrows the blood vessel restricting blood flow
  • High blood cholesterol levels – High cholesterol levels increases the risk of plaque formations which can partially or fully block the blood vessel
  • Obesity – Being overweight makes many of the risk factors worse
  • Lack of physical activity – Can lead to high risk factors such as obesity etc
  • Stress – uncontrolled stress can make other risk factors worse and increase the risk of heart disease
  • Poor hygiene – Poor hygiene like not washing your hands and poor dental care can lead to bacterial or viral infections which increase the risk of heart infections


Conditions such as congenital heart defects cannot be prevented, but you can prevent other types of heart disease by:

  • Getting frequent checkups by your doctor
  • Controlling conditions such as blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Have a diet low in saturated fat and salt
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Have good hygiene

Quit Smoking GuaranteedAffiliate Banner