Heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases, are any disorders that affect the heart. The heart is a very sensitive organ and is prone to various external and internal factors that result in damage of the organ. Some of the heart diseases include

  • Heart rate related diseases
  • Heart defects
  • Heart infection
  • Heart muscle diseases
  • Blood vessel diseases

It is important to maintain heart’s health and take measures to prevent the onset of diseases. Let’s take a look at the symptoms, causes and prevention of heart diseases.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Symptoms are signs that our body shows when affected by an illness. Symptoms related to heart diseases are sometimes dormant until the person experiences a heart attack. We should take responsibility for our heart health and prevent these diseases before experiencing any drastic effects. Some of the common symptoms related to heart diseases are

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Pain in neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or back
  • Fast (tachycardia) or slow (bradycardia) heartbeat rate
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Swelling of legs, abdomen
  • Pale gray or blue skin
  • Fatigue

Symptoms are not limited to the above mentioned factors and heart diseases can be treated easily when diagnosed at early stages. So it is advisable to visit a doctor if you experience any unusual changes in your body.

  • Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Heart attack is the most common heart disease experienced by a majority of the adult population. The attack occurs with no prior warning, making it difficult to diagnose. But there are few symptoms that can be noticed and prevent a heart attack. These subtle symptoms include chest discomfort or pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and pain in neck, jaw, or shoulder.

Causes of Heart Disease

Several factors contribute to the occurrence of heart diseases where some can be inevitable and some can be avoided to prevent the onset of these diseases. The causes of heart diseases are:

Factors that cannot be changed

  • Aging – People of 65 years or more are more prone to heart diseases
  • Gender – Men have a higher risk of heart disease than women
  • Hereditary – Heart diseases are likely to be passed on through generations

Factors that can be controlled

  • Smoking and alcohol consumption – Smoking is one of the major causes of heart diseases and most of the affected are regular consumers of tobacco smoke. Drinking alcohol also contributes to the damage of heart muscles 
  • High cholesterol – Cholesterol is a fatty compound in the body that accumulates in the arteries, blocking the blood flow which leads to heart attack
  • High blood pressure – Caused by stress and other factors, the heart muscles become thick and stiff, leading to abnormal functioning of the organ
  • Obesity – Obesity is a result of increased fat content in the body, resulting in high blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Diabetes – High blood glucose level damages the blood vessels, thereby causing severe heart problems 

Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

Though difficult to diagnose, heart diseases can be treated if the symptoms are recognised at early stages. Our lifestyle also plays a major role in preventing the onset of heart diseases. Some of the suggested preventive methods are

  • Follow a balanced diet with low salt and limited fat
  • Reduce or quit smoking and consumption of alcohol
  • Manage your work and try to reduce stress
  • Keep your blood pressure at bay
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes regularly
  • Work on methods to reduce blood cholesterol
  • Follow a standard (and healthy) sleep cycle
  • Is it always advisable to consult a doctor for heart diseases before things get out of hand