Coronary Artery Disease

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What is it: Coronary artery disease, sometimes referred to as CAD, is the most common type of heart disease. CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrow. Typically, this is due to a buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on the inner walls of the heart.

Early signs: Early signs of coronary artery disease may include pain, discomfort, pressure, tightness, numbness or a burning sensation in the chest, arms, shoulders, back, upper abdomen or jaw. It may also include dizziness, weakness or fatigue, nausea or vomiting or indigestion or heartburn.

If you’re experiencing any of these tendencies, seek medical attention.

Arrhythmia

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What is it: An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, your heart beats too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. When your heart beats too fast, it is called tachycardia. The most common test used to diagnose an arrhythmia is an electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG.

Early signs: Early signs of an arrhythmia may include a fluttering in your chest, a racing heartbeat (tachycardia), a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, sweating or fainting.

If you’re experiencing any of these tendencies, seek medical attention.

Heart Disease

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What is it: Heart disease, or sometimes called cardiovascular disease, generally refers to conditions that involve narrow or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or a stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, are also considered forms of heart disease.

Early signs: Early signs of heart disease may include several things. The most common sign is chest discomfort. Additional signs include nausea, indigestion, heartburn, and stomach pain. Others may have pain that spreads to the arm, lightheadedness or dizziness, throat or jaw pain, be easily exhausted, snoring and sweating.

Heart Failure

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What is it: Heart failure means your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be. Our bodies demand consistent pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to our body’s cells. When in heart failure, the weakened heart can’t supply the cells with enough blood.

Early signs: Early signs of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue/weakness, swelling of the legs, ankles or feet, rapid or irregular heartbeat, reduced ability to exercise and persistent coughing or wheezing (something with white or pink phlegm).

If you’re experiencing any of these tendencies, seek medical attention.

Hypertension

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What is it: Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure. This can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke or even death.

Early signs: Early signs of hypertension may include severe headaches, fatigue or confusion, vision problems, chest pain, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blood in your urine or pounding in your chest, neck or years.

If you’re experiencing any of these tendencies, seek medical attention.

Peripheral Artery Disease

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What is it: Peripheral artery disease (also called peripheral arterial disease) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to limbs leaving people with leg pain while walking (claudication).

Early signs: Claudication symptoms include muscle pain or cramping in your legs or arms that is triggered by activity, such as walking but disappears after a few minutes of rest. The location of the pain depends on the location of the clogged or narrowed artery. Calf pain is the most common location.

The severity of claudication varies widely, from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. Severe claudication can make it hard for you to walk or do other types of physical activity.