Early Detection, and the Signs of Heart Disease

The earlier heart disease is detected, the easier it is to treat. Learn a few of the warning signs today. GO RED!

Watch to learn about the signs of heart disease.

Heart disease comes in a variety of forms including cardiovascular disease, heart arrhythmias, heart defects, cardiomyopathy, heart infections and valvular heart disease. Although they share similar warning signs, each requires a different treatment. The earlier it is detected, the easier heart disease is to treat. This is especially important if you have a family history of heart disease.

If you begin to notice any of the symptoms or they become more frequent or severe, contact your doctor immediately so you can be properly diagnosed and begin treatment promptly.

Seek emergency medical care if you have these heart disease symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting

Cardiovascular Disease: Heart disease in your blood vessels

  • Chest pain (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

Heart Arrhythmias: Abnormal heartbeats

  • A fluttering in your chest
  • A racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting

Heart disease caused by heart defects

Serious congenital heart defects — defects you’re born with — usually become evident soon after birth.

  • Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • Shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain

Less serious congenital heart defects are often not diagnosed until later in childhood or even during adulthood.

  • Easily becoming short of breath during exercise or activity
  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Built-up fluid in the heart or lungs
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet

Cardiomyopathy: Thick heart muscle

  • Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
  • Bloating (distention) of the abdomen with fluid
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats that feel rapid, pounding or fluttering
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting

Heart infections

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Swelling in your legs or abdomen
  • Changes in your heart rhythm
  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Skin rashes or unusual spots

Valvular heart disease

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat or heart murmur
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting (syncope)

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