Main Symptoms of Heart Diseases
Diseases of the heart are the main cause of mortality among the peoples in developed countries. Contemporary diets are oversaturated with fats and sugars, which, in turn, contribute to the development of obesity, and obesity is one of the main contributing factors in the development of heart diseases.
What are the symptoms associated with cardiovascular diseases?
- Chest pain and discomfort
Although chest pain can be caused by many conditions, it is wise to discover its source.
“Chest pain” is an extremely vague term and could mean a number of things. People often describe the pain as discomfort, numbness, choking, squeezing and pressure in the upper abdomen, neck and chest. The pain can sometimes irradiate (spread) to the jaw and left arm. It can develop suddenly, or after an exercise, and it may last for just a moment or continue for a few days. Because the pain can vary considerably from person-to-person, it is difficult to self-diagnose as a sign of a serious problem, or something that will pass without complications.
For example, intercostal neuralgia can produce an unusually acute pain, which many people mistake for a heart attack. It is, of course, advisable to call a doctor immediately. However, if you’re in a situation or a location that prohibit notifying a healthcare provider, you can perform some tests on your own. Intercostal neuralgia pain is usually connected with breathing, (unlike the pain caused by the heart problems) and will become more intense as you breathe in deeply. You can also apply pressure to your ribcage; if the pain becomes more acute due to pressure, you probably are not experiencing a heart attack.
Palpitation is an abnormality of the heartbeat. This symptom is common and can sometimes occur in a healthy person. It ranges from unnoticed skipped beats, to significant changes in the heartbeat, which can lead to dizziness and heavy breathing. People that experience palpitations often have a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm).
There are many kinds of cardiac arrhythmias, the majority of which cause palpitations. The main ones include episodes of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), episodes of atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular complexes (PVCs), and premature atrial complexes (PACs).
- Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is a common symptom of pulmonary and cardiac disorders. Chronic heart failure and ischemic heart disease often cause shortness of breath. People suffering from chronic heart failure usually experience shortness of breath after some physical activity.
Also, a specific symptom is a shortness of breath when the person is lying down. This condition is known as paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea. It occurs when the heart is unable to pump the blood through the lungs efficiently. If the person is standing, the symptoms disappear because the blood, due to gravity, is redistributed toward the lower portion of the body. At night, however, when the person is lying down, the blood is distributed evenly throughout the body, and the pressure within the pulmonary, circulatory system rises. Because the heart is unable to handle this rise in pressure, the person begins suffocating and gasping for breath. A simple solution to this problem is sleeping with elevated shoulders and lowered legs.
It is crucial not to mix up shortness of breath caused by heart diseases with a lung condition. Also, shortness of breath is often a sign of a serious medical problem, which is why it essential to consult a professional.
- Peripheral edema
Peripheral edema is caused by the water retention in the subcutaneous fat of the lower limbs. It can be caused by a number of reasons including various systematic diseases, pregnancy, chronic heart failure, etc. Peripheral edema caused by the chronic heart failure occurs from an increased reabsorption of sodium and water by the kidneys, and an increased hydrostatic pressure within the vessels of the lower limbs, which cause the fluid to accumulate in the subcutaneous fat. In order to verify if it’s a peripheral edema or not, some pressure is applied to a small area. As a result, a small “pit” is formed which disappears after a while.
- Dizziness and Headache
There are many causes for dizziness and headache, including viral illnesses, dehydration, anemia, and neurological disorders. However, they can also be caused by heart failure and arrhythmias. For example, dizziness and headache can occur as a result of bradycardia (heart rate – less than 60/minute). Another possible reason for sudden dizziness is atrioventricular nodal block; especially when the Second degree AV block (Mobitz II) progresses into Third degree AV block.
Cyanosis is a bluish discoloration of a person’s skin. It is usually seen on ears, lips, fingers, and toes and occurs due to insufficient supply of oxygen. Usually, only a severe cardiac or lung problem leads to a cyanosis, which is why it is usually accompanied by other symptoms. One of the main causes of cyanosis is a markedly reduced cardiac output (usually caused by cardiomyopathy).