Symptoms of heart conditions can vary depending on the condition. However, there are several signs that you should speak to a doctor or cardiologist right away. These symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest: Tightness in the chest or chest pain can be an early indicator of a blocked artery, heart infections, or arrhythmias. Pain in the chest can also be a warning sign that you are having a heart attack.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: Dizziness or lightheadedness can indicate arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, or heart valve disease. If your blood pressure has dropped significantly, this can also produce lightheadedness.
- Fatigue: Fatigue or shortness of breath can be an indicator of cardiomyopathy (diseased heart muscle), coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects, arrhythmias, and more. Fatigue and shortness of breath while performing daily activities is one of the most common signs of heart disease.
- Swelling or coldness in legs, feet, ankles: Swelling or coldness in the lower extremities is a common sign that the heart is not pumping blood effectively. This can be a sign of heart valve disease, atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in arteries), cardiomyopathy, and more.
- Irregular heartbeat: Fast (“fluttering”) or slow heartbeats are common signs of arrhythmia, weakened heart pumping, and heart valve problems.
If you have had any of these symptoms in the past, or are experiencing them, talk to a doctor right away. These sensations can be signs of life-threatening heart disease. In the United States, 1 in 4 deaths a year is caused by heart disease or complications from heart disease. Images taken of your heart muscle can help detect these conditions early, and help prevent severe problems down the road.