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Heart Disease Health Center

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Heart Disease Symptoms

Each type of heart disease has different symptoms, although many heart problems have similar signs. The symptoms you experience depend on the type and severity of your heart condition. Learn to recognize your symptoms and the situations that cause them. Call your doctor if you begin to have new symptoms or if they become more frequent or severe.

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is angina, commonly called chest pain. Angina can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest. It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.

Other symptoms that can occur with coronary artery disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations (irregular heart beats, skipped beats, or a "flip-flop" feeling in your chest)
  • A faster heartbeat
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Symptoms of Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction or MI)

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone
  • Discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat, or arm
  • Fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like heartburn)
  • Sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness
  • Extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats

During a heart attack, symptoms typically last 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or oral medications (drugs taken by mouth). Initial symptoms can start as a mild discomfort that then progresses to significant pain.

Some people have a heart attack without having any symptoms (a "silent" MI). A silent MI can occur among all people, though it occurs more often among diabetics.

If you think you are having a heart attack, DO NOT DELAY. Call for emergency help (dial 911 in most areas). Quick treatment of a heart attack is very important to lessen the amount of damage to your heart.

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

When symptoms of arrhythmia are present, they may include:

  • Palpitations (a feeling of skipped heart beats, fluttering, or "flip-flops," or feeling that your heart is "running away")
  • Pounding in your chest
  • Dizziness or feeling light-headed
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Weakness or fatigue (feeling very tired)

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of arrhythmia. Most people with AF experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations (a sudden pounding, fluttering, or racing feeling in the heart)
  • Lack of energy; tiredness
  • Dizziness (feeling faint or light-headed)
  • Chest discomfort (pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest)
  • Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing during activities of daily living)

 

WebMD Medical Reference

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