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Recognize the Characteristics of Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the diseases that you need to be aware of because heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Not only adults can get heart disease, but children who are still in the process of growth can get heart disease. Therefore, of course, you need to be aware of the symptoms of heart disease along with the initial signs.

The common characteristics of heart disease are a pain in the chest that radiates to the shoulder or neck, cold sweat, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. However, some sufferers do not feel symptoms at all. Recognize the characteristics of heart disease to immediately get the right treatment because severe heart disease can be fatal if it is not immediately treated.

Coronary heart disease, heart attack, and heart failure are types of heart disease that require different treatments but sometimes have almost the same symptoms and signs. Some characteristics of heart disease do not always occur in the chest, and any pain in the chest is not necessarily a symptom of heart disease.

As a precautionary measure, study the characteristics of heart disease so you can immediately consult a doctor if you experience one of them.

Characteristics of Heart Pain by Type

1. Heart attack

Heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart is blocked by plaque. This disturbed blood flow can damage the performance of the heart muscle.

In a heart attack, symptoms usually last for 30 minutes or more and do not go away even after taking regular pain medication. Symptoms appear from mild to severe intensity. But in some people, a heart attack does not show any symptoms. This condition is called silent myocardial infarction (MI).

The characteristics of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or feeling like being pressed on the chest, under the ribs, and arms that radiate to the neck, jaw, shoulders, or back.
  • Sweating, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or heartburn.
  • Bloated.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • The heartbeat is fast or pounding.
  • Limp.

Symptoms of a heart attack are generally the same in men and women, but in addition to chest pain, women usually show signs of other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

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2. Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that makes the heartbeat in the heart (atrium) irregular. This condition can cause strokes, blood clots, and other complications such as heart failure. As with heart attacks, in some people, this disease does not show any symptoms. The characteristics of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Heart palpitations.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Shortness of breath when in normal condition.
  • Suddenly limp or dizzy.

3. Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart loses the ability to pump blood properly. Conditions such as high blood pressure and narrowing of the blood vessels gradually make the heart stiff or too weak to pump blood, resulting in heart failure.

Symptoms of heart failure are not always related to the degree of disease that occurs. Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath when resting or lying down which is aggravated by physical activity.
  • Coughing with white mucus.
  • Swelling in the abdomen, legs, and ankles.
  • Dizzy.
  • tired and weak.
  • Difficult to concentrate.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • No appetite.

4. Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease occurs when blood vessels that supply blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to the heart experience obstacles. These obstacles are usually caused by plaques that accumulate or atherosclerosis.

One of the characteristics of this heart disease is discomfort, pain, and heat in the chest (angina). These symptoms are often misinterpreted as stomach ulcers. In addition to the chest, angina can also be felt in the neck, shoulders, throat, arms, back, or jaw.

Other characteristics include:

  • Anxious or dizzy.
  • Heartbeat (palpitations).
  • Cold sweat.
  • Nausea.
  • Short breath.

5. Heart valve disease

The heart valve is the door of the chamber and the heart of the heart. In valvular heart disease, the valve does not function normally resulting in impaired blood flow to and from the heart. If the heart valve is disrupted, you may experience:

  • Pain in the chest when moving or breathing cold air.
  • Anxious and dizzy.
  • Palpitations.

6. Arrhythmia

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical current that regulates the heartbeat does not function properly. This condition causes the heart rate to be too slow or too fast and irregular. When arrhythmias occur, usually followed by:

  • Heartbeat or palpitations.
  • Discomfort in the chest.
  • Fainted.
  • Limp.
  • Short breath.
  • Dizzy.

7. Pericarditis

Pericarditis is a condition of inflammation of the pericardium, the thin layer surrounding the heart. Pericarditis is generally followed by:

  • Not too high fever.
  • Heart rate increases.
  • Chest pain that is different from angina. In patients with pericarditis, the pain that is felt is centered on the center of the chest and feels piercing. Pain is felt more when breathing, coughing, swallowing, and lying down. Pain can spread to the neck, arms, and back.

8. Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is the term to refer to heart muscle disease or better known as heart weakness. The heart muscle thickens, enlarges, or becomes stiff. Some people do not show symptoms and can live a normal life. But many also show symptoms and worsen with decreasing heart function. Cardiomyopathy can occur at any age with the following characteristics of heart disease:

  • Chest pain that generally occurs after exercising and after eating.
  • Fainted.
  • Palpitations.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Fatigue.

To ensure the characteristics of heart disease that you experience, immediately consult a cardiologist. Especially if you have risk factors such as being overweight, smoking, over 60 years of age, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. The doctor will perform physical and supportive examinations such as electrocardiograms (ECGs), chest X-rays, echocardiography, and cardiac angiography if needed to assess heart function and diagnose disease to determine the appropriate treatment steps.

If you have some of these risk factors, it is advisable to lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease and routinely conduct health check-ups.



1. American Heart Association AHA (2017). Warning Signs of Heart Failure.

2. Mayo Clinic (2018). Diseases & Conditions. Coronary Artery Disease.

3. Beckerman, J. WebMD (2017). Symptoms of Heart Disease.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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