Ischaemic Heart Disease
The heart is the first organ to develop in an embryo and starts to beat and pump blood at about around 22 days after conception. The heart pumps blood through your body, providing it with oxygen and nutrients, and removing metabolic wastes. Some diseases of the heart include coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) and congenital heart defects (heart problems you are born with). Heart disease or cardiovascular disease usually refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Changing to a healthier lifestyle can prevent many forms of heart disease. Sometimes though, medication and surgery may be needed to get your heart beating healthily again.
Signs and symptoms
- Chest pain or angina (more frequent in men)
- Shortness of breath, nausea or extreme fatigue (more frequent in women)
- Weakness or coldness in legs or arms
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
- Heart arrhythmia (an abnormal heartbeat) - symptoms can include:
- Fluttering in your chest
- Racing heartbeat
- Slow heartbeat
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Fainting or near fainting
When to see a doctor
If you have any of the above symptoms or if you suspect that you may be having a cardiovascular disease discuss your concerns with a doctor without delay. Often, patients are not diagnosed until they have a heart attack, angina or stroke. Heart disease can often be discovered early through regular testing.