Heart Disease Channel
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Heart Disease

How Do You Know If You Have It?

Just because you have heart disease does not mean that you will experience symptoms. Plaque can be building up in your arteries with no symptoms. In fact, it usually takes many years of plaque buildup before symptoms appear. Symptoms generally appear when the coronary arteries have been sufficiently clogged to cause a reduction in blood flow to the heart. At this point, a person will experience  symptoms from clogged arteries.
The most common symptoms are:
  • Chest pain or discomfort (angina)
  • Pain in one or both arms, the left shoulder, neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Faster heartbeats
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Feeling very tired.
In some people, the first sign of heart disease is a heart attack (see Heart Attack Symptoms).

Making a Diagnosis

There is no one single test for heart disease. In order to make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your medical and family history, your risk factors, and do a physical exam and several tests. These procedures are used to determine if you have heart disease, the extent and severity of the disease, and to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
(Click CRP Test for Heart Disease or Heart Disease Diagnosis for more information on this topic.)
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Heart Disease Information

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