Heart Disease Symptoms
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
Symptoms of heart valve disease can include:
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty catching your breath. You may notice this most when you are active (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).
- Fainting (syncope).
If valve disease causes heart failure, symptoms may include:
- Swelling of your ankles or feet. Swelling may also occur in your belly, which may cause you to feel bloated.
- Quick weight gain (a weight gain of two or three pounds in one day is possible).
Symptoms do not always relate to the seriousness of your valve disease. 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 produces white mucus
- Quick weight gain (a weight gain of two or three pounds in one day is possible)
- Swelling in the ankles, legs, and abdomen
- 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 little or no symptoms.
Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart defects may be diagnosed before birth, right after birth, during childhood, or not until adulthood. It is possible to have congenital heart disease and no symptoms at all. In adults, if symptoms are present, they may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Limited ability to exercise
- Symptoms of heart failure (see above) or valve disease (see above)
Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease in Infants and Children
If an infant or child has congenital heart disease, the symptoms can 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
Symptoms of Heart Muscle Disease (Cardiomyopathy)
Many people with heart muscle disease, or cardiomyopathy, have no symptoms or only minor symptoms, and live a normal life. Other people develop symptoms, which progress and worsen as heart function worsens.
Cardiomyopathy symptoms can occur at any age and may include:
- Chest pain or pressure (occurs usually with exercise or physical activity, but can also occur with rest or after meals)
- Heart failure symptoms (see above)
- Swelling of the lower extremities
- Palpitations (fluttering in the chest due to abnormal heart rhythms)
Some people also have arrhythmias. These can lead to sudden death in a small number of people with cardiomyopathy.