What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Symptoms of heart disease can differ depending on the type and severity of heart disease and individual factors. Symptoms can occur as an isolated problem or in combination with other heart conditions. One well-known symptom of heart disease is chest pain, but not all chest pain is caused by heart disease.

In addition, not all people who have heart disease experience chest pain. Some people even have a heart attack without having chest pain. By the time a person experiences chest pain, he or she may have had a form of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis, for many years.

It is common for a person with certain types of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis, not to have noticeable symptoms until complications occur. The only definite way to detect heart disease in its earliest, most treatable stage is through regular medical care that includes comprehensive evaluations from a licensed physician or health care professional.

Symptoms of heart disease

Heart disease symptoms can be vague, mild and subtle. Symptoms include:

  • A feeling of indigestion

  • Anxiety and restlessness

  • Backache

  • Difficulty feeding and poor weight gain in infants

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Fatigue

  • Mild, transient shortness of breath with exertion

  • Mild weakness and feeling lightheaded

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Pain, numbness, and mild swelling in the feet and ankles

  • Pale skin with or without sweating

  • Wet cough

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Some symptoms of heart disease and its complications are severe and may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that needs immediate treatment. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms:

  • Bluish discoloration of the lips and fingernails (cyanosis)

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure, squeezing, or fullness (angina)

  • Extreme sweating and clammy, pale skin

  • Loss of pulse

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Pain in the shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or arms that radiates from the chest. Chest pain can also occur by itself.

  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking

  • Severe dizziness

  • Severe swelling that can affect the arms, legs, and abdomen


What is heart disease?

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is a general name for a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Source: Read more about heart diseaseintroduction


What causes heart disease?

The heart is a muscle that requires a steady supply of oxygen in order to pump blood effectively through the body. Oxygen is supplied to the heart by blood that flows through the coronary arteries. Some types of heart disease damage or block the coronary arteries and the flow of oxygen to the heart. Other forms of heart disease damage or impair the functioning of the heart and blood vessels. Th... Read more about heart diseasecauses


How is heart disease treated?

Some heart diseases that are diagnosed early can be successfully treated before the development of permanent heart damage and complications, such as heart failure and cardiac arrest. Heart disease treatment plans use a multifaceted approach and are individualized to the type and severity of your heart disease, risk factors, lifestyle, medical history, and other diseases and conditions you have.... Read more about heart diseasetreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation