What Is Heart Disease and What Are The Symptoms?

Heart disease is an overarching term that encompasses a variety of heart and blood vessel-related ailments. The Mayo Clinic lists the following illnesses as being included in this umbrella category: coronary artery disease, cardiac failure, arrhythmia (for instance atrial fibrillation), and congenital heart defects.

Other diseases of the heart include:

  • heart infections
  • heart valve disease
  • cardiomegaly (an abnormally enlarged heart)
  • cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle)

What are the symptoms of different types of heart disease?

A common symptom of heart disease is chest pain, or angina—this occurs when the heart muscle isn’t receiving enough oxygen and nutrient-rich arterial blood. Angina causes a feeling of discomfort in one’s chest; many describe it as tightness or a squeezing sensation around their breastbone. The painful sensations can even spread to other areas such as the neck, shoulders, arms, abdomen and back.

Have you been feeling overwhelmingly exhausted after brief physical activity? Are you having difficulty breathing when at rest? If so, these may be signs of heart disease. Fortunately, these symptoms usually subside with a period of rest.

Women often experience different symptoms than men. For example, women may have:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • back pain
  • jaw pain
  • cold sweats
  • paleness
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting episodes

Women may not be aware of the signs of heart disease since its symptoms can imitate those from various other illnesses. Furthermore, women are more likely to have further risk factors than men such as depression, stress and menopause.

Risk factors for heart disease

Common risk factors for heart disease include:

  • being overweight
  • being inactive
  • smoking tobacco
  • eating a high-fat, high-sodium, and high-carbohydrate diet
  • having diabetes mellitus
  • having high blood pressure
  • having high cholesterol
  • having a family history of heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans have one or more of the major risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, or smoking. If your doctor has warned you that you might be at risk of developing this condition, it is important that you take their advice seriously!

For individualized guidance from an expert pharmacist and a 10% discount on your next order, schedule a free consultation now! For more health tips, check out the rest of our glossary. In the meantime, the Gaspar’s Best family wishes you and your family happiness and health.