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Heart disease – Symptoms, causes, and risk factors

Heart disease – Symptoms, causes, and risk factors

Several diseases are included under the umbrella term of heart diseases and are also called cardiovascular diseases. They lead to the blood vessels becoming narrow or getting blocked, which, in turn, can result in a heart attack or stroke or cause pain in the chest. Other heart conditions affect the heart’s muscle, rhythm, or valve.

Symptoms
The symptoms vary according to the condition diagnosed. The symptoms of common cardiovascular diseases are discussed below.

Symptoms of atherosclerotic disease

  • Pain in the chest or feeling a sense of tightness or discomfort in the area
  • Shortness of breath
  • Limbs feeling numb or severely cold if the blood vessels have narrowed in the area, as it affects blood circulation
  • Pain in the jaw, back, upper abdomen, or neck

Symptoms of abnormality in the heartbeat or arrhythmia

  • Fluttering sensation in the chest
  • Racing or slow heartbeat
  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Feeling dizzy or fainting
  • Light-headedness

Symptoms of heart defects or related conditions

  • Skin color turning blue or pale gray
  • Abdominal swelling or swelling in the area surrounding the eyes
  • Shortness of breath while feedings in case of an infant

Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy

  • Breathlessness
  • Swelling in the legs, feet, and ankles
  • Feeling a sense of fatigue and dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Symptoms related to heart infections

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak
  • Change in the heart rhythm
  • Persistent cough
  • Skin rashes

Causes
The causes vary depending on the type of heart disease one is affected with. The common causes include an accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries as a result of following an unhealthy diet and not being physically active, being overweight or obese, and smoking. Read on to learn more about the causes of commonly diagnosed heart diseases:

  • Heart arrhythmia
    This can be a result of heart defects since birth, high blood pressure or diabetes, smoking, excessive alcohol or caffeine intake, or stress. Additionally, certain medications and dietary supplements can also increase the risk.
  • Heart infection
    These may be caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
  • Valvular heart disease
    Rheumatic fever and connective tissue disorders are among the most common causes.

Risk factors

  • Age
    With increasing age, the risk of developing narrow arteries or suffering damage to the arteries increases. As one grows older, the heart muscles also thicken up and can lead to heart diseases.
  • Family history
    If there is a history of people in one’s family suffering from heart-related diseases, there is a high chance that the individual may develop heart disease as well.
  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy
    Undergoing radiation therapy or taking chemotherapy medications increases one’s risk of suffering from heart disease manifold.
  • High cholesterol
    High cholesterol levels add to the risk of the development of plaques in the arteries, which affect blood circulation and elevate the risk of stroke or heart attack.
  • High blood pressure
    High blood pressure leads to the arteries thickening up or hardening, which leads to the narrowing of the vessels through which the blood flows.
  • Poor hygiene
    Adhering to good hygiene standards is a must if one wants to stay away from heart diseases. Not washing hands properly before eating and maintaining poor oral hygiene can add to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as they increase the chances of infections that can affect heart health.