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Understanding Heart Disease

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Heart, or cardiovascular, disease refers to a range of conditions that impact the heart. These include heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), blood vessel diseases including narrowed or blocked blood vessels that may lead to a heart attack, congenital heart defects, heart infections, and other heart conditions that affect the muscle, valves, or rhythm of the heart.

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

While each case is different, some of the risk factors to be aware of for heart disease include:

  • Aging
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Stress
  • Family history

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

The symptoms a person experiences from heart disease depend upon which type of heart disease they are suffering from. Some of the symptoms experienced may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Angina (chest pain, tightness, pressure, and/or discomfort)
  • Pain, numbness, coldness, or weakness in the arms or legs
  • Pain in the throat, neck, jaw, back, or upper abdomen
  • Fluttering, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Tachycardia (racing heartbeat)
  • Bradycardia (slowed heartbeat)
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Swelling of the eyes, abdomen, hands, ankles, or legs
  • Being easily tired during exercise or activity
  • Pale gray or blue skin (cyanosis)
  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Skin rashes

See a doctor immediately if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting. You should also see a doctor if you have any of the above symptoms that persist or interfere with your daily life. The sooner heart disease is diagnosed, the better the chance of treating it effectively.

Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with heart disease, you may want help. Specialty Care Services offers many in-home care options, and we have experience in helping families cope with all types of heart disease.

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