Heart Disease Symptoms. Heart or Cardiovascular Disease is very broad, encompassing numerous heart conditions. Most people generally think that heart disease is only Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). But CAD is actually a kind of heart disease which may have heart disease symptoms. Others may not. Prevention is the modality of choice for fighting heart disease, as it is the number one cause of death in the US. Taking care of yourself and becoming aware of your body’s state is the key to living a long and healthy lifestyle. The following briefly discuss the different conditions of heart disease:
¨ Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): clogging of the arteries important for the mobility of the heart’s oxygen and nutrients.
¨ Irregular Heartbeat: or arrhythmia, makes for a heartbeat that’s too fast or too slow. Either more than or less than 60-100 heartbeats per minute, respectively.
¨ Heart Failure: not necessarily what it sounds like, the heart just doesn’t pump as well as it should. It’s a common condition hospitalizing people over 65 more than anything.
¨ Congenital Heart Disease: heart defects that can be diagnosed at birth and may be due to the baby being exposed to viruses, alcohol or drugs during pregnancy.
¨ Cardiomyopathies: conditions of the heart as a muscle, in which the heart becomes enlarged. Blood-pumping is strenuous and without treatment, cardiomyopathies may lead to other conditions such as heart failure and arrhythmia.
¨ Pericarditis: rare heart condition wherein the lining around the heart may have gotten infected and in turn, inflamed.
¨ Aorta Disease: affecting the aorta, an important artery large enough to send oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. When the aorta expands or gets a rip, a person is more susceptible to other possibly fatal heart conditions.
¨ Vascular Disease: diseases affecting the arteries and blood flow.
Since heart disease is actually different heart conditions with specific heart disease symptoms of their own, here is a summary of any common symptoms among them which should tell you to get checked if you are experiencing any:
¨ Hard to breathe; short breaths.
¨ Fast or slow weight gain (for babies/children).
¨ Difficulty exercising.
¨ Chest pain.
¨ Swelling-lower extremities.
¨ Irregular heartbeat.
It’s rather fast and easy to diagnose someone after some observation of signs and whatever obvious heart disease symptoms may be bothering someone. The doctor only checks your heart rate, listens to your heartbeat, and takes your blood pressure. Heart rate is checked through your pulse (heartbeats per minute); heart and valves are heard opening and closing with a stethoscope to the chest; and blood pressure is measured with a sphygmomanometer. 120 over 80 is the normal blood pressure but other factors are considered before defining whether or not yours is abnormal. Another test to help diagnose a person with heart disease is performing a physical examination. Doctors can tell about a person’s heart condition by assessing the body: eyes, arms, legs, and skin. Still another optional test is checking a patient’s blood work for clues in cholesterol and others.
Cardiac arrests due to a dysfunctional heart (ventricular fibrillation) can be treated with a defibrillator (shockers to the chest). Otherwise 10 minutes is all it takes for brain death. To stall, CPR is the easiest life-saving technique to learn. Furthermore, there are surgical methods for curing symptoms to prevent death (i.e. angioplasty, bypass surgery, heart transplants, and pacemakers).