Heart disease is a major health risk. It’s the cause of one in four deaths in the U.S.
Since it’s such a big health risk, it’s helpful for everyone who has a heart to understand some of the more common heart ailments and the symptoms you may see in others, or yourself, if these disorders develop.
Coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease): Coronary heart disease (CHD) tends to develop over time. A waxy substance called plaque can build up inside the arteries that provide blood to your heart muscle. This results in a narrowing of the small blood vessels providing blood and oxygen to the heart. This is sometimes called hardening of the arteries.
The reduced flow of blood and oxygen due to CHD can result in:
- A squeezing feeling or pain in your chest or upper body. The pain may go away with rest or the medicine nitroglycerin.
- Shortness of breath or fatigue after moderate activity.
Coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack or heart failure.
A heart attack is the death of a segment of heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply. The blood is usually cut off when an artery supplying the heart muscle is blocked by a blood clot.
The heart attack signs include:
- Upper body pain. Women and men may feel chest pain or pain in the arms, back, neck or jaw.
- Fatigue. This is common for women.
- Shortness of breath.
- Cold sweats.
- Dizziness or nausea
- Irregular heartbeat.
Heart failure(or congestive heart failure)
When a person’s heart function becomes weaker, the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body. This usually happens slowly over time. Your heart doesn’t stop working, but the weakened blood flow can cause:
- Fatigue and shortness of breath.
- Nausea or loss of appetite.
- Blood and body fluids to back up into your lungs.
- Swelling due to fluid buildup in your feet, ankles, legs, abdomen and veins in your neck. This buildup is called edema.