5 Types of Heart Disease Symptoms, Risk Factors & Causes
Heart disease is an umbrella term that covers a variety of conditions affecting the heart. These heart diseases can affect the blood vessels, heart muscle and even the rhythm at which the heart beats to cause cardiac problems. A person may be born with heart disease or develop it over a lifetime. Many of these heart diseases cause symptoms.
Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. CAD is the leading cause of death in the United States. This disease develops when the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to the heart harden and narrow, which prevents the heart from getting the blood and nutrients it needs to function well. Other types of heart disease include abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias, heart valve disease, and heart failure where the heart muscle does a poor job of pumping blood.
Many cardiac problems share similar symptoms. Other heart problems cause specific symptoms. Here are five of the most common heart disease symptoms, their risk factors and causes.
About 5 Common Symptoms of Heart Disease
1. Chest pain
Pain, tightness, pressure or discomfort in the chest is a common symptom of heart disease. These symptoms, also known as angina, are often the result of coronary artery disease.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing angina. These risk factors include tobacco use, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels, family history of heart disease, lack of exercise, older age, obesity, and stress.
2. Irregular heartbeat
An irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia, causes your heartbeat to have an irregular rhythm that can feel like fluttering in your chest. A regular heartbeat is important to pumping the blood properly and with enough force. The cause of arrhythmia is not always clear.
Risk factors for arrhythmias include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, a high fat diet, stress, and drug abuse.
3. Shortness of breath
Heart disease can make it hard to breathe. Certain cardiac problems, such as heart failure, can cause of shortness of breath because they make the heart less efficient at pumping. This can cause blood to “back up” and accumulate in the tubes leading to the lungs, or even to leak into the lungs and accumulate there. Risk factors for shortness of breath include having heart failure, valve heart disease, weak heart muscles or infections of the heart.
4. Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
Pain in these areas may be signal a heart attack. People suffering a heart attack may experience this pain because the same nerves that detect pain from the heart also sense pain in the jaw. Risk factors for this type of pain include heart attack and other types of heart disease.
Numbness may occur when blood vessels are narrowed, which prevents blood from reaching tissues in the extremities. Numbness may occur with heart attack, clogged arteries associated with CAD and other heart problems.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms of heart disease should seek the help of a doctor, particularly if they have a personal or family history of cardiac problems. For more information, contact your doctor.