Heart disease – different types and associated symptoms

heart disease types and symptoms

Heart disease is describing a range of conditions which can affect our heart. Diseases which are under the heart disease are: heart defects you are born with – congenital heart defects, heart rhythm problems – arrhythmias and coronary artery disease. This term, heart disease, is often used interchangeably with the term – cardiovascular disease. The term cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions which are involving blocked or narrowed blood vessels which can lead to stroke, chest pain (angina) or heart attack. Also other heart conditions which are affecting your heart’s rhythm, valves or muscle are also considered as forms of heart disease. There are many forms of heart disease which can be treated or prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.

Symptoms of heart disease

Heart disease symptoms depend on what type of heart disease you have.

  1. Heart disease symptoms caused by valvular heart disease: Our heart has 4 valves (the aortic, the mitral, the pulmonary and the tricuspid valves) which open and close to direct blood flow through our heart. Valves can be damaged by many conditions leading to improper closing (prolapse), leaking (regurgitation or insufficiency) or narrowing (stenosis). Depending on which valve is not working properly, this type of heart disease symptoms generally include [1]:
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Chest pain
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  1. Heart disease symptoms caused by infections:

There are 3 types of heart infections [2]:

  • Endocarditis, which affects the inner membrane that separates the chambers and valves of the heart (endocardium)
  • Myocarditis, which affects the muscular middle layer of the walls of the heart (myocardium)
  • Pericarditis, which affects the tissue surrounding the heart (pericardium)

Varying slightly with each type of infection, heart infection symptoms can include:

  • Skin rashes or unusual spots
  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Changes in your heart rhythm
  • Swelling in your legs or abdomen
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  1. Heart disease symptoms caused by weak muscle (dilated cardiomyopathy): Cardiomyopathy is the thickening and stiffening of the heart muscle. In the early stages of this condition, you may have no symptoms. [3] As this condition worsens, symptoms may include:
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
  • Irregular heartbeats that feel fluttering, pounding or rapid
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
  • Breathlessness with exertion or at rest

heart disease types and symptoms

Heart disease / failure symptoms

  1. Heart disease symptoms caused by heart defects: Serious congenital heart affects, which are defects that you are born with, usually become evident soon after birth. [4,5] Heart defects symptoms in children could include:
  • In an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • Pale gray or blue skin colon (cyanosis)

Less serious congenital heart defects are not often diagnosed until later in childhood or during the adulthood. Here are the signs and symptoms of congenital heart defects which usually are not immediately life – threatening:

  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet
  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity
  1. Heart disease symptoms caused by abnormal heartbeats (heart arrhythmias): A heart arrhythmia means the abnormal heartbeat. Your heart may beat irregularly, too slowly or too quickly. [6] Heart arrhythmia symptoms can include:
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Fluttering in your chest
  1. Atherosclerotic disease – symptoms of heart disease which is happening in the blood vessels: Cardiovascular disease is caused by stiffened, blocked or narrowed blood vessels which can prevent your brain, heart or other parts of your body from receiving enough blood. Cardiovascular disease symptoms may be different for both men and women. Women are more likely to have symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue while men are more likely to have chest pain. [7] Symptoms can include:
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
  • You can feel weakness, pain, numbness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain (angina)


[1] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Heart valve disease. Retrieved from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-valve-disease

[2] Fong IW. New Perspectives of infections in cardiovascular disease. Current Cardiology Reviews. 2009;5(2):87–104.

[3] Artero EG, Lee D, Lavie CJ, et al. Effects of muscular strength on cardiovascular risk factors and prognosis. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention. 2012;32(6):351–8.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) tracking and research. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/research.htiml

[5] American Heart Association. The impact of congenital heart defects. Retrieved from www.heart.org/en/health-topics/congenital-heart-defects/the-impact-of-congenital-heart-defects

[6] Lip GYH, Coca A, Kahan T, et al. Hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias: executive summary of a consensus document from the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) and ESC Council on Hypertension, endorsed by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), Asia-Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS), and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estimulación Cardíaca y Electrofisiología (SOLEACE). European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. 2017;3(4):235-50.

[7] Pothineni NVK, Subramany S, Kuriakose K, et al. Infections, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease. European Heart Journal. 2017;38(43):3195-201.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.