Symptoms of Heart Disease
The most common symptoms of heart disease, other than angina, include shortness of breath, palpitations, irregular or quickened heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, nausea and sweating.
Angina or angina pectoris is the medical term used to describe chest pain. Heart disease treatment may include drug therapy, surgery or implantation of a device to help maintain proper heart rhythm, such as a pacemaker or ICD.
The common symptoms of heart disease are also the primary symptoms of heart attacks. In short, anyone who experiences the symptoms of heart disease should see their doctor immediately.
Evaluation by a physician is necessary to determine which heart disease treatment is appropriate, assuming any treatment at all is needed. Self-diagnosis or self-treatment of chest pain is never appropriate. Never forget that a heart attack does permanent damage to the muscle of the heart.
There are a number of different diseases of the heart. The aforementioned symptoms of heart disease pertain to coronary artery disease, which is a narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the heart due to a build up of fats and plaque.
Heart disease treatment and risk factors mentioned below also pertain primarily to coronary artery heart disease since this is one of the most common of all heart dieases.
Treatment for coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis can be quite effective and can actually reverse the disease process over time. Attention to blood pressure and cholesterol levels may prevent coronary artery disease, which is why regular check-ups, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks, are so important.
Being male is considered one of the major uncontrollable risk factors for developing heart disease. Other uncontrollable risk factors include older age and genetics. In women, there is an increased risk of heart disease associated with a decrease in natural estrogen levels that occur after menopause or after removal of the ovaries, but hormone replacement therapy, thought to reduce the risk of heart disease at one time, is no longer considered beneficial for the purpose.
Risk factors for developing coronary artery disease that are considered controllable include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, improper diet, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, chronic stress, uncontrolled diabetes and inflammation of the arteries. A blood test for C-reactive protein is a particularly important test, as it may reveal the presence of inflammation of the arteries.
Although the symptoms of heart disease may include quickened heart rate, increased heart rate during exercise does not damage the heart. The heart was meant to be active. It is a muscle and like any other muscle of the body, it will weaken from lack of use. Regular aerobic exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, improve circulation and even improve the symptoms of heart disease, including heart failure. Most doctors recommend regular exercise as part of a complete heart disease treatment program.
In addition, a regular exercise program, along with a reasonable diet, can help a person maintain a normal healthy weight. When obesity is a factor, even the best heart disease treatment options may be ineffective.
People who have had surgery as a heart disease treatment reduce the risk that their arteries will become narrow again by following practical dietary and exercise recommendations.
Symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath and feelings of weakness may be relieved by beginning a regular exercise program and making dietary changes. Of course, no one who has been diagnosed with heart disease should begin an exercise program without first consulting their doctor.
Other health benefits of a regular exercise program that are directly related to coronary artery disease include decreased blood pressure, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improved sleep.
Sleep apneas, a condition in which breathing stops for a short time during sleep, commonly occurs in people who are inactive and overweight and has been associated with both high blood pressure and heart disease.
One more factor that has been linked to both coronary artery disease and kidney disease is a high homocysteine level. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in meat. High levels of homocysteine are associated with low levels of B6, B12 and folic acid. Increasing intake of B vitamins and folic acid can break down homocysteine. Folic acid and the B-vitamins are found primarily in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Other substances found in vitamins, minerals and other food compounds and believed to be important for heart health are called antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight substances called free radicals, which can cause cellular damage that leads to the development of heart disease. One of the richest source of antioxidants currently known is a fruit called the mangosteen. Also a good source of B vitamins and folic acid, this Asian fruit is only available in most areas in the form of a juice or puree.
Research has proven that the mangosteen contains powerful anti-inflammatories. Unlike synthetic anti-inflammatories which can be ineffective and have unwanted side effects, scientists believe that natural anti-inflammatories have no side effects and are more effective, because they target a large group of inflammatory responses.
Current heart disease treatment can be effective if those who suffer from the disease make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes. Anyone can benefit from efforts to correct controllable risk factors. In addition, making dietary and lifestyle changes can prevent the symptoms of heart disease from progressing to heart attack or heart failure.