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Heart Care

Overview

Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Heart diseases include:
  • Blood vessel disease, such as coronary artery disease
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Disease of the heart muscle
  • Heart infection

Symptoms

Heart disease symptoms depend on what type of heart disease you have.
Symptoms of heart disease in your blood vessels

A buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries, or atherosclerosis (ath-ur-o-skluh-ROE-sis) can damage your blood vessels and heart. Plaque buildup causes narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.

Coronary artery disease symptoms may be different for men and women. For instance, men are more likely to have chest pain. Women are more likely to have other signs and symptoms along with chest discomfort, such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue.

Signs and symptoms can include:
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
Heart disease symptoms caused by abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmias)

Your heart may beat too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Heart arrhythmia signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fluttering in your chest
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
Heart disease symptoms caused by heart defects

Serious heart defects that you're born with (congenital heart defects) usually are noticed soon after birth. Heart defect signs and symptoms in children could include:

  • Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • In an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain
Heart disease symptoms caused by diseased heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)

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