The symptoms of heart disease involve a number of physical conditions that ultimately affect the heart. The most prevalent type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, also known as CAD, which occurs when the arteries have become too narrow and blood flow is therefore restricted. Coronary artery disease can lead to angina (severe chest pain or discomfort) and, while angina is one of the symptoms of heart disease and not an actual heart attack, people with the symptoms of heart disease are at an increased risk for a stroke or heart attack. Heart failure, atherosclerosis, or heart arrhythmias are also common forms of heart disease that can lead to cardiac arrest.
The symptoms of heart disease include:
- Chest pain or discomfort (including heaviness, tightness or a burning sensation)
- Dizziness or confusion
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
- Pain in the limbs
- Change in skin color
- Pain in the neck or jaw
While both men and women can suffer from the symptoms of heart disease, women are known to have higher rates of heart disease than men and women die from heart disease more often than men do. African-American and Latina women are more prone to have symptoms of heart disease than white women due to higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. As a woman matures, her chances of experiencing the symptoms of heart disease greatly increases as does a heart attack risk. However, women at any age should be aware of the dangers, signs, and symptoms of heart disease and make healthy lifestyle choices early in life in order to avoid having heart disease later in life.
A checklist of risk factors for heart disease includes:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diets
- Drug use
A medical diagnosis of heart disease is made through tests designed to detect problems associated with the heart. Some of the tests used are as follows:
- Chest x-ray
- Electrocardiogram (or EKG)
- Stress test
- CT heart scan
- Heart MRI
- Pericardiocentesis (or pericardial tap)
- Myocardio biopsy
- Electrophysiology test
- Cardiac catheterization (or coronary angiogram)
- Tilt table test
Along with one or more of the above tests, doctors will also take into account a patient’s medical history, family history and risk factors. Testing for heart disease is often done in a routine physical exam. However, many people do not find out that they have heart disease until they actually experience the symptoms or are taken to the hospital in an emergency as a result of having a heart attack or stroke.
Traditional medical treatment for the symptoms of heart disease can include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillators, and surgery in an attempt to repair a damaged heart or arteries. Treatment options can also include various heart medications and physical therapy.
Natural methods of avoiding the symptoms of heart disease and even healing heart disease include making lifestyle, diet and nutrition adjustments, getting adequate amounts of daily exercise, and relying on holistic health practices in order to manage stress and build good heart health. Even persons who have already suffered a heart attack and who have undergone surgery or are on daily medications to treat the symptoms of heart disease are prescribed complementary treatments that involve radical lifestyle changes to correct many of the bad habits that led to the symptoms of heart disease in the first place.
It is particularly imperative that everyone, especially people with symptoms of heart disease, pays close attention to their cholesterol levels and closely monitors their blood pressure.
Anti-oxidant rich foods should be a staple in the daily diet of those living with heart disease as well as individuals who wish to avoid the symptoms of heart disease. A few of these include:
- Green tea
- White tea
Foods high in fat and toxins such as processed foods, foods prepared with processed sugars, fast food and junk food should be avoided at all times.
Yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy, daily exercise, herbal medicine, and meditation are among the complementary therapies that are prescribed for patients suffering from the symptoms of heart disease. However, investigating and embracing many of these therapies before a diagnosis, along with other lifestyle and dietary adjustments, can prevent people from ever creating heart disease.
With holistic health strategies focused on creating balance between the mind, body, and spirit, many have recovered from heart disease while others at high risk for heart disease have been able to avoid being stricken with it. When properly cared for, our bodies can function at their best. Combined with mental and spiritual strategies that assist in minimizing stress and dysfunctional behaviors, many have discovered that there is a healthy life both before and even after experiencing the symptoms of heart disease.