Being one of the most important and the most vital parts of the body, the heart can undergo a lot of complications when it is compromised. A simple connotation of a heart disease actually describes a wide range of conditions affecting the heart in particular aspects, including the blood vessels, the heart rhythm, and congenital or at-birth defects.
Also known as cardiovascular disease, a heart disease refers to heart conditions involving narrowed or blocked vessels that may lead to chest pain or angina, a heart attack, or a stroke. Other forms of heart disease are those affecting the heart muscle and rhythm. With so many possible heart disease causes, how can you know if you have one?
Common heart disease symptoms
Since there are many conditions involving a cardiovascular disease, its symptoms also depend on which type a patient has. Common symptoms of heart disease involving the blood vessels include chest pain, pressure or discomfort, along with shortness of breath. Patients may also experience pain radiating in the jaw, neck, upper abdomen, or the back.
On the other hand, the symptoms caused by abnormal heart rhythms may differ, as there may be fluttering in the chest, either a slow or racing heartbeat, dizziness, and fainting, along with chest pain or discomfort.
Early evaluations and detection is important in the diagnosis and treatment of a heart disease, which is why it is best to regularly see your doctor.
Diagnostic tests for heart disease
Doctors are able to diagnose heart disease through several laboratory procedures. Usually, an electrocardiogram (ECG) may be requested to keep track of the heart’s electrical activity. This simple, painless procedure involving ECG cables and electrodes attached to the chest determines the heart rate and rhythm while recording the timing of the its electrical impulses. The ECG is able to show signs of heart damage caused by the disease or any tracks of a previous or current heart attack.
Another useful diagnostic test is the echocardiogram, which works like an ultrasound of the heart. The procedure uses sound waves to capture an image of the heart not only to determine its size and shape, but also to assess how its valve and chambers are working. To further diagnose heart problems, your doctor may also require a stress test, where your heart rate and reaction are monitored as you walk, run, or ride a stationary bicycle for several minutes.
When to visit your doctor
Aside from experiencing the symptoms, you may need to see your doctor if you are at a higher risk for heart disease. Common risk factors include a family history of heart disease, smoking history, poor diet, and obesity among others. Other than the diagnostic tests, your doctor may also require blood tests to determine any problems with your heart and its blood vessels. These procedures greatly help you to know if a heart disease is present, and the doctor to develop an appropriate treatment plan for you.
Early diagnosis and treatment always prevents the development of a disease. The best things to do is to keep in close touch with your doctor and do your best to maintain a healthy and happy heart.