Heart Disease Symptoms

The term “heart disease” describes a broad category of disorders and disease conditions affecting the heart muscle, valves, blood vessels and even some disorders of other organ systems–like the lungs or the kidneys–that relate directly to heart function. Many heart problems can be diagnosed and corrected with simple treatments, but others have compounding effects, and sometimes for both men and women, heart disease symptoms, heart failure symptoms and other heart problems can lead to complications that extend beyond the underlying disorder.

Heart Attack

A heart attack, or a completely arrested heartbeat, is a serious and life-threatening condition that can arise from wide variety of underlying heart problems. Several heart disease symptoms and conditions can lead to eventual heart attack if left untreated. Especially in women, heart disease can often go unrecognized or be misunderstood, and a heart attack may sometimes be the first indication that something is wrong.

Properly treating heart disease symptoms and heart failure symptoms may prevent cardiac arrest and save the lives of both men and women. Heart disease doesn’t always lead to heart attacks, but it’s a good idea to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of both.

Stroke

When blood flow to any part of the body becomes blocked, the oxygen-starved cells and tissues of that area may become injured or permanently damaged. When blood flow blockage happens in the brain, the resulting condition is called a stroke.

Like a heart attack, a stroke can be a serious and-life threatening complication of underlying heart problems. Treating both men and women with heart disease symptoms may help prevent eventual strokes, and like heart attacks, strokes may be less damaging if they are recognized quickly.

Heart Rate Abnormalities

A variety of heart problems may lead to disruptions in the steady, rhythmic flow of blood through the four chambers of the heart. A normal, healthy heart contracts and expands about 60 to 100 times per minute, with all valves opening and closing fully as they move the blood in only one direction. But in men and women with heart disease, the steady beat can become rushed, irregular or weak. Blood may pool or flow backwards in some cases. In others it may leak through ineffective valves. Heart rate abnormalities may indicate problems that can eventually lead to heart failure symptoms. These abnormalities may take the form of murmurs, fibrillations or arrhythmias.

Resources

American Heart Association. (2010). Heart attack symptoms and warning signs. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4595

American Heart Association. (2010). Women, heart disease, and stroke. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4786

American Stroke Association. (2010). About stroke. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/About-Stroke_UCM_308529_SubHomePage.jsp

Medline Plus. (2010). Arrhythmias. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001101.htm

Medline Plus. (2010). Heart palpitations. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003081.htm