Common Heart Problems—Warning signs and steps toward prevention

The term “heart problems” encompasses a broad range of conditions that can affect your overall heart health. While some people are born with heart defects, others can develop problems later in life. Learning about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of common heart problems can help you get an earlier diagnosis and the treatment that you need.

Coronary artery disease (CAD): CAD is a chronic disease that causes the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries from the build-up of cholesterol and plaques.

Symptoms of coronary artery disease

  • Pain, discomfort, heaviness in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Causes

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Sedentary lifestyle and diet
  • Family history
  • Smoking

Congestive heart failure (CHF): With CHF, the heart is not pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs. “Failure” does not mean the heart has completely stopped functioning, but it does mean the heart is not pumping as well as it should, which is a serious concern.

Symptoms of congestive heart failure

  • Fatigued
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Fluid retention
  • Weight gain

 Causes

  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Conditions that overwork the heart
  • Heart attack
  • Heart defects

Improving heart health

  • Quit smoking
  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Control blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Losing excess weight
  • Reducing stress
  • Talking to your doctor about your overall health

With the right treatment plan, including lifestyle changes, these heart problems can improve. The goal of treating both CAD and CHF is decreasing the disease’s progression and lessening the symptoms. That’s why early diagnosis is crucial.