Symptoms of heart disease

Most symptoms of heart disease are obvious. Know the warning signs.

By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: October 03, 2011

Symptoms Of Heart Disease

Heart disease and disorders can often go undetected as the symptoms can be confused for another problem. Many heart diseases, especially congenital heart defects, are not diagnosed until the symptoms become severe. Knowing what to look for can help diagnose heart problems before they lead to heart attack or stroke.


Chest pain

Chest pain is often a symptom of a heart condition and anyone experiencing sudden or repeated chest pain should seek medical advice.


Irregular heart beat

If your heart starts beating quickly, slows down or is irregular and you cannot count your pulse, this could be a symptom of heart disease.    



Unexplained tiredness over a prolonged period of time can be a symptom that the body is not getting enough oxygen. Oxygen is regulated around the body by blood flow and blockages in arteries, blood clots and narrowing of veins can all prevent blood moving from the heart to organs efficiently.


Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath following exercise is not a cause for concern however struggling to breath when resting is a warning sign something is wrong. Being unable to catch your breath is often a sign that the body is not getting enough oxygen and is a symptom of a heart or lung disorder.


Fainting or dizziness

Feeling faint or dizzy is caused by insufficient oxygen circulation around the body. Fainting and dizziness can be caused by anxiety, stress or a medical condition unrelated to the heart, however interruptions in the blood flow to and from the heart can be caused by blood clots, blocked arteries or a defective heart valve.


Swelling in the legs

Often swelling in the legs is caused by blood failing to circulate properly around the body. This could be a symptom of a blocked artery or heart valve or could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis.


Pale, cold skin

Skin that is whiter than normal or feels cold could be getting an insufficient amount of blood supply as a result of a heart condition. 


Serious heart problems such as heart attack and stroke have specific warning signs that everybody should be aware of. To learn the signs of a heart attack or stroke, please read these guides. 


Symptoms of a heart attack

Symptoms of a stroke


***Symptoms of heart disease vary between patients and not everyone with a heart condition will experience these symptoms. If you have a family history of heart disease or are worried you may have a problem, a visit to a cardiologist can detect any underlying problem.



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