What Every Heart Needs to Know | 1MD
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Heart

What Every Heart Needs to Know


Heart disease is on the rise, not just in the United States, but across the world. This could be because of the work environments, stress levels, hormones in the body caused by the foods we eat, and a variety of other factors. Obesity and genetics are both common causes of heart disease. Being knowledgeable about the symptoms of heart disease is important so that you can be cognisant about your heart health and know what is normal and what is abnormal.

Though you should be aware of the symptoms, be careful not to self-diagnose, as that can make the problem worse, stressing you out and putting yourself more at risk for other complications. Instead, you should understand the types of heart diseases, how to recognize them and ways to prevent them.

Symptoms of heart disease

There are several symptoms of heart disease that you want to be on the lookout for, and they differ between men and women. The most common symptom is chest pain or angina. By itself it might not lead to anything, however a doctor will be able to determine if it is your heart, or something as small as indigestion or heartburn. This could also present as a tightness in the chest instead of pain.

Other symptoms of heart disease include a shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the feet, legs, ankles and abdomen. These are serious signs when presented together and could mean heart failure. Coronary heart disease will present as pain the chest, neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or upper back. You should also watch out for nausea, vomiting or abnormal fluttering in the chest.

Types of heart disease

  • Heart Rhythm Disorders
  • Heart Valve Disease
  • Sudden Cardiac Death
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Enlarged Heart (Cardiomegaly)
  • Heart Muscle Disease (Cardiomyopathy)
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy
  • Pericarditis
  • Pericardial Effusion
  • Marfan Syndrome
  • Heart Murmurs

Cures and preventative maintenance

There is no true cure to heart disease, there are only treatments and preventative measures. Surgical procedures can sometimes extend the quality and length of your life. Those options will be provided by a cardiothoracic doctor and include valve replacement, heart transplant, pacemakers, etc.

The best and most effective way to battle heart disease is to take the necessary steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place. The first would be to have regular checkups with your doctor or team of doctors to assess your specific situation. On your end, eating clean and exercising (especially cardio) will lower your risks of getting conditions like heart disease. A diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, reducing alcohol consumption, and cutting out tobacco will keep your heart healthy and strong.

References

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/symptoms/CON-20034056
  2. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hdw/signs
  3. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-symptoms-types

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