Patient Guidance

Heart disease is the leading cause of death – 1 in every 4 deaths is due to heart disease.

Heart Disease Warning Signs
Heart symptoms may not always be explicit so do not ignore any potential cardiac warning signs. Some warning signs not to ignore include: shortness of breath, heartburn, muscle soreness, painful hiccups, neck or upper back pain, or other symptoms discussed in this slide show. People with known heart disease or significant risk factors such as people over age 65, strong family history of heart disease, obesity, smokers, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes should pay extra attention to any possible cardiac symptoms.

Heart Disease symptoms
1. Anxiety One symptom of an impending heart attack can be extreme anxiety. You may feel as if you are having a panic attack and experience shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, and dizziness. If you experience these symptoms go to an emergency room right away.
2. Chest Discomfort When chest pain is heart-related it is often centered under the breastbone, slightly to the left of center. It can feel like extreme pressure on the chest, or just an uncomfortable sensation of pressure, squeezing, or fullness. Women may experience minor aches or even a burning sensation. Any chest pain should be brought to the attention of your doctor who will help diagnose the cause.
3. Cough In heart failure, fluid may accumulate in the lungs, causing a persistent cough or wheezing. Sometimes the cough may produce bloody phlegm. If you have a chronic or worsening cough or wheezing that makes it hard to breathe or affects your daily life, see your doctor.
4. Dizziness Heart attacks and heart rhythm abnormalities called arrhythmias can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting. Many different conditions can cause these kinds of symptoms, so see a doctor to find out if heart disease is the cause of your dizziness.
5. Fatigue Fatigue is one of those symptoms that can be attributed to many different medical conditions. Sometimes women in particular to experience unusual fatigue during and in the days prior to a heart attack. Heart failure can cause people to feel tired all the time. When you are so fatigued it affects your daily function ion, it is time to see a doctor.
6. Rapid or Irregular Pulse An occasional "skipped" heartbeat may be no cause for concern. But if you have a rapid or irregular heart rate this could be a symptom of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. This rapid or irregular pulse may also be accompanied by weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Seek medical attention immediately – some arrhythmias can lead to stroke, heart failure, or death without prompt medical intervention.
7. Shortness of Breath During a heart attack or heart failure, fluid may leak into the lungs, causing shortness of breath. People may feel breathless even at rest. Shortness of breath can be due to other conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but it can also be a sign of heart attack
8. Sweating Breaking out into a sudden sweat for no reason is actually a common symptom of a heart attack. Sweating profusely when you don't have a fever and are not exerting yourself or in a hot environment – especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath nausea, or chest pain – may be a symptom of a heart attack.
9. Swelling/Edema When the heart is weakened it pumps blood less effectively, and this can lead to fluid retention that results in swelling (edema) of the lower extremities or abdomen. Heart failure can also cause sudden weight gain and loss of appetite.
10. Weakness Severe and unexplained weakness may be a sign of an impending heart attack. The heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Blood gets diverted to the most critical organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain, and away from the muscles

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