Heart disease symptoms

November 12, 2012

Heart disease symptoms

The phrase ‘heart disease’ includes a variety of conditions with a plethora of symptoms; however, there are a number of important heart disease symptoms that everyone should be aware of.

Pain or discomfort in the chest

Any one of us who experiences any kind of chest pain, no doubt, will be extremely alarmed since, for many of us, chest pain means heart attack. Although many other medical conditions can cause pain and discomfort in the chest, it is such a common heart disease symptom that it should not be dismissed as irrelevant or unimportant.


ery often ‘chest pain’ is difficult to accurately describe and may refer to pain that is also associated with the jaw, arms, upper abdomen, neck or head; the pain may variously be described as a feeling of intense pressure, squeezing, numbness, choking. The pain may also be fleeting or long lasting, occur with predictability, very rarely or sporadically. The vagueness associated with the term ‘chest pain’ means that any patient experiencing regular or persistent bouts of chest pain and discomfort should seek the advice of their medical practitioner in order to exclude the condition as a heart disease symptom.


Palpitations are another common heart disease symptom. A patient describing an episode of palpitations may well say that they feel very aware of their heartbeat and that it appears to skip a beat or beat very rapidly and/or in an irregular pattern.

Palpitations are often the result of abnormal heart rhythms, known as cardiac arrhythmia. The most common causes of an abnormal heartbeat include premature atrial complexes, premature ventricular complexes, atrial fibrillation or supraventricular tachycardia. Palpitations may be the result of a serious, underlying health condition and, if they are persistent, should be referred to your medical practitioner.

Feelings of dizziness or light-headedness

Feeling dizzy or light-headed may have many underlying causes – including dehydration, anaemia, diabetes, viral illness, prolonged bed rest, a heart disease symptom as well as many others. Due to the wide range of conditions that may result in feelings of light-headedness and dizziness, anyone who experiences regular, persistent bouts of this condition should seek the advice of their medical practitioner and undergo a thorough medical examination in order to exclude any serious underlying health problem that may be present.

Fainting episodes

Fainting frequently occurs for no apparent reason and is something that most of us will experience at least once in our lives. However, as with other symptoms, persistent episodes of fainting may well be a heart disease symptom, or a symptom of another serious medical condition, and should be thoroughly investigated by a medical practitioner.

The common causes of fainting are generally divided into four categories – neurological, metabolic, vasomotor and cardiac; fainting which is associated with heart disease is a serious condition that may even result in death.

Extreme fatigue

Many people suffer from lethargy and fatigue that may, at its worst, affect our ability to function normally. Individuals, who suddenly fall asleep, with no warning, may be suffering from a condition known as narcolepsy. Conditions such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnoea and insomnia are all likely to contribute to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.

Fatigue may well be regarded as a heart disease symptom, particularly when the heart disease is severe, however, fatigue and tiredness may also be attributed to many other causes. Anyone suffering from long term, persistent fatigue with no identifiable cause should seek medical advice.


Breathlessness, or shortness of breath, is very often a symptom of cardiac failure and coronary heart disease, as well being symptomatic of pulmonary disorders. Patients who are in heart failure may often become breathless on exertion or even when lying on their backs.

Shortness of breath is often indicative of a serious underlying health problem and should be investigated thoroughly by a medical practitioner.

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