What Are the Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors of Heart Disease?

Heart disease symptoms depend on what type of heart disease you have:

  • Heart disease in your blood vessels (atherosclerotic disease): It can be different for men and women. Men are more likely to have chest pain while women are more likely to have other symptoms along with chest discomfort, such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue. Other symptoms can include pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed and pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back.
  • Abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmias): Heart arrhythmia symptoms can include fluttering in your chest, racing heartbeat (tachycardia), slow heartbeat (bradycardia), chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting (syncope) or near fainting.
  • Heart defects: The symptoms will include pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis), swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes, and in an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain. Less serious congenital heart defects are often not diagnosed until later in childhood or during adulthood. Signs and symptoms of congenital heart defects include easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity, easily tiring during exercise or activity, and swelling in the hands, ankles or feet.
  • Weak heart muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy): In early stages of cardiomyopathy, you may have no symptoms. As it gets worse, there will be symptoms like breathlessness with exertion or at rest, swelling of the legs, ankles and feet, fatigue, irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering, and dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting.
  • Heart infections: Heart infection symptoms can include fever, shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue, swelling in your legs or abdomen, changes in your heart rhythm, dry or persistent cough, and skin rashes or unusual spots.
  • Valvular heart disease: The symptoms generally include fatigue, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, swollen feet or ankles, chest pain, and fainting (syncope).

Risk factors
Risk factors for developing heart disease include:

  • Age. Aging increases the chance of getting heart disease.
  • Sex. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease. However, women’s risk increases after menopause.
  • Family history. A family history of heart disease increases your risk of coronary artery disease
  • Smoking. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in nonsmokers.
  • Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Poor diet. A diet that’s high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol can lead to the development of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of formation of plaques and atherosclerosis.
  • Diabetes. Obesity and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart disease.
  • Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise increases the risk of heart disease.
  • Stress.
  • Poor hygiene. There are high chance of getting viral or bacterial infections.
* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.