Coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack — each type of heart problem requires different treatment but may share similar warning signs. It is important to see your doctor so that you can receive a correct diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Learn to recognize the symptoms that may signal heart disease. 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, or 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 may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.
Other symptoms of coronary artery disease include:
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
During a heart attack, symptoms typically last 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or oral medications. Initial symptoms may start as a mild discomfort that progresses to significant pain.
Some people have a heart attack without having any symptoms, which is known as a “silent” myocardial infarction (MI). It occurs more often in people with diabetes.
If you think you are having a heart attack, DO NOT DELAY. Call for emergency help (dial 911 in most areas). Immediate treatment of a heart attack is very important to lessen the amount of damage to your heart.
Symptoms of Arrhythmias
When symptoms of arrhythmias, or an abnormal heart rhythm, are present, they may include:
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of arrhythmia. Most people with AF experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Some patients with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms. Episodes may be brief.
Symptoms of Heart Valve Disease
Symptoms of heart valve disease may include:
If valve disease causes heart failure, symptoms may include:
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:
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:
Congenital Heart Defects in Infants and Children
Symptoms of congenital heart defects in infants and children may include:
Symptoms of Heart Muscle Disease
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.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy may occur at any age and may include:
Some people also have arrhythmias. These can lead to sudden death in a small number of people with cardiomyopathy.
Symptoms of Pericarditis
When present, symptoms of pericarditis may include: