What are the signs and symptoms of types of heart conditions?

One cannot overemphasize the importance of seeking prompt medical attention in the presence of symptoms that suggest a heart attack.


Atrial Fibrillation (known as AFib) (according to WebMD.com) is where the smaller vessels of your heart are being activated in a chaotic electric pattern in excess of 400 beats per minute, as compared to 60-100 coordinated beats in a normal heart.

Atrial Fibrillation
Signs and Symptoms  

  • Heart palpitations (feeling that your heart is racing or fluttering)
  • Awareness that the heart is beating
  • Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Exercise intolerance

AFib raises your risk for stroke, since the chaotic rhythm may case blood clots to form inside the heart and then travel to your brain.

Congestive Heart Failure Signs and Symptoms  

Heart failure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles and feet
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
  • Increased need to urinate at night
  • Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
  • Sudden weight gain from fluid retention
  • Lack of appetite and nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
  • Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus
  • Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack

Pulmonary Edema’s
Signs and Symptoms  

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Pale skin
  • Pink frothy sputum (which may be coughed up)
  • Nocturia (getting up at night frequently to urinate)
  • Swollen ankles (ankle edema), there may also be general swelling in the legs
  • Orthopnea – the patient becomes breathless when lying down flat
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea – episodes of severe sudden breathlessness at night

If left untreated this can lead to coma and then death – usually due to hypoxia (oxygen deprivation).

High Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association, “The truth is that HPB is largely a symptomless condition. If you ignore your blood pressure because you think symptoms will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.”

Heart Attack
Signs and Symptoms 

  • Chest discomfort, manifest as pain, fullness, and/or squeezing sensation of the chest
  • Jaw pain, toothache, headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upper middle abdomen
  • Sweating
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • Arm pain (commonly in the left)
  • Upper back pain
  • General malaise
  • No symptoms

One cannot overemphasize the importance of seeking prompt medical attention in the presence of symptoms that suggest a heart attack.

© 2016 David J. Bilinsky

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