Looking after your heart health: What common symptoms to look out for, and what can help
What should we know about our heart?
The main function of the heart is to pump blood around the body. Blood is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body and carrying away toxins, carbon dioxide, and other waste from the tissue.
The coronary arteries, supply blood directly to the heart muscle to enable it to beat commonly between 60-100 times per minute. The heart beat is kept steady through a specific network of electrical connections within the heart. If these electrical connections are disturbed, the heart can end up beating irregularly, too fast or too slowly.
Coronary artery disease (often resulting in angina and heart attacks) is the most common heart problem. It is characterized by narrowings or blockages in the coronary arteries, which supply blood directly to the heart muscle.
Other heart diseases include the following:
- Heart arrhythmias: If the Heart’s electrical connections are disturbed, the heart can end up beating irregularly, too fast or too slowly.
- Heart failure: This is described as a long-term reduction in the heart’s pumping capability due to conditions such as coronary heart disease, thyroid disorders, cardiomyopathy, or hypertension.
- Heart valve disease: Your heart contains valves that direct the movement of blood between the four chambers of the heart, the lungs, and blood vessels. Valve disease is characterized by an abnormality of these valves that impairs their proper opening and closing.
- Congenital heart disease: This refers to the heart defects people are born with.
- Endocarditis: This is an infection that occurs inside the heart.
Knowing the symptoms
Coronary artery disease can present with chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in the neck, jaw, or arms. You may not know you have coronary artery disease until you have a heart attack, arrhythmia, angina, stroke, or heart failure.
Heart arrhythmias are usually accompanied by heart palpitations or fluttering in the chest. Light-headedness, fainting, or breathlessness can also occur.
Heart failure and disease of the heart muscle can present with shortness of breath, swollen feet, and general fatigue.
Dr Bhavik Modi is an experienced cardiologist based at the Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital. He specialises in all aspects of heart disease and is a leading expert in managing chest pain, breathlessness, heart attacks and optimising risk factors for heart disease.
If you experience any of the symptoms above and would like to book an appointment with Dr Bhavik Modi, please click here for further information or call 0300 131 1416 to speak to our inhouse team.