Heart disease encompasses many diseases that affect the human heart. Any disorder in the heart and blood vessels causes heart disease.
Women with heart disease aren’t too concerned about their disorder. This is a myth. Women develop symptoms of heart disease an average of 10 years later than men. The tests to determine if their symptoms are from coronary heart disease are not as reliable as they are for men.
In most cases, the first step is to get tested to find out for sure if you have heart disease, and, if so, how severe your condition is.
Chest pain or chest discomfort
Few symptoms are more alarming than chest pain. In the minds of many people, chest pain equals heart pain. Men might have more heart attacks, but women are more likely to suffer chest pain as a potential first sign of heart disease. And while many other conditions can cause chest pain, cardiac disease is so common - and so dangerous - that the symptom of chest pain should never be dismissed out of hand as being insignificant.
Heart palpitations are accompanied by the sensation of your heart skipping a beat or beating too many times within a specific time period. Most people with palpitations have some type of cardiac arrhythmia. In younger women without underlying heart disease, heart palpitations are usually caused by stress, over-the-counter medications, caffeine, cigarette smoke or alcohol.
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or "pass out." Episodes of lightheadedness can have many causes, including anemia (low blood count) and other blood disorders, dehydration, viral illnesses, deconditioning (such as prolonged bed rest), diabetes, thyroid disease, gastrointestinal disturbances, liver disease, kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological disorders, the dysautonomias, vasovagal episodes, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.
Syncope or loss of consciousness
It is a common symptom - most people pass out at least once in their lives - and often does not indicate a serious medical problem. The causes of syncope can be due to cardiac, neurological, metabolic or vasomotor.
Fatigue (tiredness), lethargy or somnolence (daytime sleepiness)
Fatigue and lethargy can be symptoms of heart disease (particularly, of heart failure. Individuals with fatigue and lethargy need a good general medical evaluation in order to begin pinning down a specific cause.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is almost always a sign of a significant medical problem, and should always be evaluated by a doctor. This may be a symptom of heart and lung disorders. Individuals with enlarged heart commonly experience shortness of breath with exertion.
Many conditions of lungs can also produce shortness of breath including asthma.
Numerous lung conditions can produce shortness of breath including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia.