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Symptoms of Heart Disease to Watch For

December 6, 2022
EKG results image and heart carved into an apple with stethoscope

Heart disease can take the form of several different ailments, each with its own set of symptoms. It is critical to know the common symptoms and signs of heart disease to protect against this deadly condition. Here, Richmond University Medical Center focuses on the different kinds of heart disease and their respective symptoms.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is an umbrella term that spans several different non-communicable heart and cardiovascular ailments. Some of these conditions develop from certain risk factors, such as smoking, stress, poor diet, and insufficient exercise. Others are caused by malformations at birth or heredity.

Different Types of Developed Heart Disease

Heart disease that develops over a patient’s lifetime is often attributed to certain risk factors and habits. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Depression
  • Chronic stress and fatigue
  • Excessive drug and alcohol use

Over time, these behaviors can increase a patient’s risk of certain heart conditions, including:

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary artery disease occurs when fatty cholesterol builds up along the interior walls of the coronary artery, the body’s largest blood vessel, reducing blood flow to the heart. This type of heart disease can often cause a heart attack when plaque completely blocks the blood’s passage to the heart. CAD symptoms may include:

  • Pain, tightness, pressure in the chest, and shortness of breath
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back
  • Vomiting, nausea, or feelings of indigestion
  • Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in extremities

CAD is the number one cause of death in the United States for both women and men.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart becomes too stiff and rigid to pump enough blood throughout the body. Though a symptom of CAD, it is often referred to as a separate heart disease. Insufficient blood flow with CHF often results in symptoms that include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heart rhythm

This disease can also cause swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, arms, lungs, or other major organs.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is another cardiovascular ailment brought on by clogged arteries and veins. The increased pressure is caused by cholesterol buildup within vessels that restricts blood flow and prevents oxygen from circulating efficiently. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to congestive heart failure, heart attack, or stroke. Symptoms include:

  • Nosebleeds and severe headaches
  • Fatigue or disorientation
  • Eye or vision issues

Other symptoms can include chest or neck pain, difficulty breathing, and bloody urine.

Symptoms can vary from patient to patient depending on their lifestyle and medical history. Cardiology physicians can help determine and diagnose different heart diseases based on symptoms and reliable testing.

Congenital Heart Disease

While certain heart diseases are developed over an extended period due to lifestyle habits, others are present at birth. Congenital heart disease includes:


All bodily movement is triggered by internal electrical pulses. An arrhythmia occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart beats unevenly or erratically. Arrhythmia can be congenital or onset. If the beat is too quick, tachycardia is present. Too slow of a rhythm is called bradycardia. Either can cause fainting, dizziness, and blood clots that can lead to stroke.

Cyanotic Heart Disease

Cyanotic heart disease is a congenital disease in which insufficient oxygen circulates in the blood. Without enough oxygen, fingers, toes, and lips look blue. Other symptoms can include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue

Survival rates of those with congenital heart disease, including cyanotic heart disease, are rising.

Acyanotic Heart Disease

Acyanotic heart disease, another congenital heart condition, occurs when oxygen is present in the blood but is not circulated sufficiently around the body. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

When left untreated, this condition can lead to hypertension and cardiac arrest.

Learn More About Heart Disease at Richmond University Medical Center

Our mission at Richmond University Medical Center is to inform patients and provide premier healthcare services to the diverse communities in Staten Island, New York. The award-winning staff and medical professionals are prepared to help diagnose and treat heart disease and its symptoms. Contact us to make an appointment today.