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Thursday, 16 August 2012 10:02

Identifying Warning Signs of Heart Diseases to Save a Life

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Awareness about warning signs of heart diseases help to early intervention and excellent survival.

heart_disease_signs_and_symptoms 1It was a time to shut clinic and head for home but someone suddenly knocked on a door. Facial expressions make me to check her without prior appointment. Her major complaint was feeling of discomfort in the centre of chest since three to four hours not relived with application of local painkillers. Now she is experiencing difficulty in breathing and dizziness. Vital parameters, ECG report and worsening condition hints on to admit her in ICU for further management.

The mystery of the story was patient visited me just for not to disturb own night sleep if chest pain was not controlled with ordinary painkillers.  It means if that was a daytime she might be waited for some more period to see response of painkillers.  She might not be well aware that chest pain must be taken seriously as it can turn out fatal. 

This is the story of millions of people dying from heart diseases every year. Heart disease is a major cause of death all over the world and significant reason for disability.

Poor awareness about warning signs and symptoms of heart diseases makes a person to use home remedy initially. However, their condition gets to worsen before reaching the hospital.

Heart diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and valve diseases are always present with some warning signs. Though all of them have different patho physiology but have most signs in common.

Identification of such warning signs and early intervention has excellent chances of survival and less damage to heart structure.

American Heart Association has listed out the warning signs of heart diseases as follows.

heartattack warning signChest discomfort/pain

Chest discomfort is a sensation of heaviness, discomfort, aching, burning, and fullness in chest, pain in a chest. Description of chest discomfort can vary from patient to patient and condition to condition.

Incidence of chest discomfort can be a warning sign of angina, a coronary artery disease or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm)

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute state that angina pain usually occurs when a patient is active, last for few minutes and goes away with rest.

Feeling of discomfort in the centre or left side of chest lasting for more than few minutes or gets off and return is an early-warning sign of heart attack.
Discomfort in heart attack may be feeling of squeezing, fullness, pain or uncomfortable pressure from mild to severe in intensity.

Discomfort in other parts

Feeling of upper body discomfort or pain in other parts of a body like one or both arms, back, neck, jaw and stomach goes in favour of heart attack.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing is suggestive of heart or lung illness.

Feeling of breathlessness during physical activity, at rest or on laying flat on back is signed of heart failure. Sometimes breathing problems are so severe that may wake up a person from night sleep.


Palpitation is the awareness of an abnormal heartbeat. Patient feels palpitation in a wide range of medical conditions from respiratory illness to heart problems. However, when palpitation is associated with chest tightness, dizziness or light-headedness is a warning sign of heart disease.

Irregular heartbeats indicate angina whereas rapid heartbeats or skipping beat with ordinary physical exertion indicate a heart attack. Singal premature beat favour's arrhythmia while racing or throbbing of heart due to loss of pumping action suggests heart failure.

Undue fatigue

Feeling of tiredness with ordinary activities or simple exercise such as walking or climbing stairs indicates heart illness. Lack of energy and feeling of fatigue all times during a day is a sign for arrhythmia, heart attack or heart failure.

Persistent coughing

Continuous bouts of cough with white or pink blood tinged mucus suggest accumulation of fluid in lungs due to heart failure.


Development of swelling over feet, ankles, legs, abdomen or increase in body weight is associated with fluid retention in tissues due to poor heart and kidney function secondary to heart failure.


Symptoms of heart burn like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite and chocking feeling may turn out heart failure.

Whenever you notice such types of symptoms or signs do visit your physician immediately to rule out heart illness.

image source:The Encyclopedia of science

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Read 5497 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 August 2012 10:45

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