Many Symptoms of Heart Attack and Heart Disease: A Complex Condition
Heart disease is a very broad term. I think most people who think of heart diseasethink ofheart attacks or coronary artery disease,and that certainly is the most common formof heart disease. But it’s certainly much broader than that. It includes things such as diseases at theheart muscle, or heart failure where the heartdoesn’t either contract or relax normally. It includes valve diseases, diseases of theelectrical system of the heart, and even diseasesof the lining of the heart. I think most people associate chest pain orchest pressure or chest discomfort as a signof heart disease, and that certainly is themost common symptom thatwe see in patients who present with coronaryartery disease or heart disease. But it’s broader than that. We know that many other symptoms can be asign of heart disease. These include breathlessness, shortness ofbreath, the inability to do exercises thatsomeone could once do quite easily, fatigueeven, patients who come in with rapid heartbeats,swelling in the ankles, really just a changein their ability to do their routine activities. Heart disease is really acomplex condition that can be caused by manyfactors. Of course, coronary artery disease, whichis a buildup of plaque in the heart arteries. It can be caused by high cholesterol, highblood pressure, being overweight, smoking,not being active, as well as genetics canplay a role. We know that treating those conditions reallynot only helps patients with established heartdisease, but helps prevent coronary arterydisease from ever forming in the first place. When patients come in with new symptoms thatare concerning for heart disease, not onlycan they see us in various locations, butimportantly, we have the ability to providethe advanced diagnostic testing that theymay need. We have all forms of stress testing, all formsof imaging. We have all of the specialists that someonewould ever need to evaluate them and carefor them when they come to see us.