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Symptoms of Heart Disease

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Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease

Symptoms of heart valve disease may include:

  • Shortness of breath and/or difficulty catching your breath. You may notice this most when you are doing your normal daily activities or when you lie down flat in bed.
  • Weakness or dizziness.
  • Discomfort in your chest. You may feel a pressure or weight in your chest with activity or when going out in cold air.
  • Palpitations (this may feel like a rapid heart rhythm, irregular heartbeat, skipped beats, or a flip-flop feeling in your chest).

If valve disease causes heart failure, symptoms may include:

  • Swelling of your ankles or feet. Swelling may also occur in your abdomen, which may cause you to feel bloated.
  • Quick weight gain (a weight gain of two or three pounds in one day is possible).

Symptoms of heart valve disease do not always relate to the seriousness of your condition. You may have no symptoms at all and have severe valve disease, requiring prompt treatment. Or, as with mitral valve prolapse, you may have severe symptoms, yet tests may show minor valve disease.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

Symptoms of heart failure can include:

  • Shortness of breath noted during activity (most commonly) or at rest, especially when you lie down flat in bed.
  • Cough that is productive of a white sputum.
  • Rapid weight gain (a weight gain of two or three pounds in one day is possible).
  • Swelling in ankles, legs, and abdomen.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats.
  • Other symptoms include nausea, palpitations, and chest pain.

Like valve disease, heart failure symptoms may not be related to how weak your heart is. You may have many symptoms, but your heart function may be only mildly weakened. Or you may have a severely damaged heart, with few or no symptoms.

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects may be diagnosed before birth, right after birth, during childhood, or not until adulthood. It is possible to have a defect and no symptoms at all. Sometimes it can be diagnosed because of a heart murmur on physical exam or an abnormal EKG or chest X-ray in someone with no symptoms. 

In adults, if symptoms of congenital heart disease are present, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Limited ability to exercise.
  • Symptoms of heart failure (see above) or valve disease (see above).

 

Congenital Heart Defects in Infants and Children

Symptoms of congenital heart defects in infants and children may include:

  • Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin, fingernails, and lips).
  • Fast breathing and poor feeding.
  • Poor weight gain.
  • Recurrent lung infections.
  • Inability to exercise.

WebMD Medical Reference

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