When someone has a problem regarding his heart, he goes to a heart specialist, called a cardiologist. The medical staff of the hospital will perform a number of tests to diagnose and screen for cardiovascular conditions when a patient complains of symptoms that could indicate heart or blood vessel-related problems, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chest pressure, heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating, numbness, and weakness. Typically, a combination of blood testing, heart monitoring, and imaging studies is needed to diagnose a heart condition.
Doctors that specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cardiac diseases are very well known as cardiologists. They are specialists in the arteries and veins that transport blood as well as the heart muscle itself.
Heart electrical activity, heartbeat rhythm, blood flow through the heart's chambers and valves, ease of blood flow through the coronary arteries to the heart muscle, and the presence of tumors or structural abnormalities in the cardiovascular system can all be learned from cardiovascular diagnostic and screening tests.
Some tests can even record heart activity, providing clinicians with crucial information about whether engaging in physical activity or lying down may be exacerbating symptoms.
Symptoms of heart disease are brought on by erratic heartbeats (called heart arrhythmias). It's possible for the heartbeat to be excessively fast, too slow, or irregular. Chest pain or discomfort might be one of the heart arrhythmia symptoms.
• Lightheadedness; Syncope; Fainting; Fainting or near-fainting; Fluttering in the chest; Racing Heartbeat (Tachycardia); Shortness of Breath; Slow Heartbeat (bradycardia)
Congenital cardiac abnormalities lead to the signs of heart disease.
Significant congenital heart abnormalities are typically discovered shortly after birth. Children with congenital cardiac defects may exhibit the following signs:
Such as swelling in the legs, belly, or areas around the eyes. In an infant, shortness of breath during feeding results in poor weight gain. Pale grey or blue skin or lips (cyanosis).
- Congenital cardiac abnormalities that are less significant are frequently not discovered until later in infancy or into maturity. Conspicuously non-life-threatening signs of congenital cardiac abnormalities include:
- Swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet during exercise or activity; • Easily becoming out of breath during exercise or activity;
- symptoms of heart disease brought on by damaged heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
- Cardiomyopathy's early stages may not show any symptoms at all. Symptoms that emerge as the illness becomes worse include:
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting; Fatigue; Shortness of breath while moving or at rest; Shortness of breath when trying to go sleep or on waking up; Rapid, hammering, or fluttering heartbeats; Swollen legs, ankles, or feet
- Heart valve issues lead to the symptoms of heart disease (valvular heart disease)
- The aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid valves are the four valves of the heart. To let blood flow through the heart, they open and close. Heart valves can be harmed by a variety of factors. A constricted (stenotic), leaky (regurgitation or insufficiency), or poorly closing cardiac valve can occur (prolapse).
- Heart valve disease is the other name for valvular heart disease. The following symptoms of cardiac valve disease typically appear depending on which valve isn't functioning properly:
- Chest pain, syncope (fainting), exhaustion, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swollen ankles or feet
- The inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves are both impacted by endocarditis, an infection (endocardium). Symptoms of endocarditis can include: a dry or persistent cough; a fever; changes in heartbeat; and shortness of breath, Skin rashes or unusual spots, Swelling of the legs or belly area, Weakness or fatigue
Your doctor will perform a physical exam as well as ask you about your personal and family medical history. Several tests are used to identify heart disease. Blood tests and chest X-rays are not the only methods for diagnosing heart disease.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) (ECG or EKG). An ECG is a quick and painless test that records the electrical activity of the heart. It can tell if the heart is pounding too quickly or too slowly.
- Holter tracking. For a day or more, a portable ECG device called a Holter monitor is worn to track the heart's activity throughout typical activities. A typical ECG may overlook aberrant heartbeats, which can be detected through this examination.
- Echocardiogram. Sound waves are employed in this non-invasive test to produce exact images of the beating heart. It illustrates the movement of blood through the heart and its valves.
- Stress or exercise tests. These tests often involve walking on a treadmill or cycling while stationary while the heart rate is monitored. Exercise tests can help evaluate whether exercising triggers heart disease symptoms and how the heart reacts to it. If you are unable to exercise, medications may be suggested.
- Catheterization of the heart. This examination can reveal cardiac artery obstructions. The heart is reached with the help of a long, thin, flexible tube (which is called a catheter) into a blood artery, typically in the groyne or wrist. To reach the heart's arteries, a special dye passes through the catheter. During exam time, the dye makes the arteries more visible and clear on X-ray images.
• A cardiac (heart) CT scan. For a heart CT scan, you lie down on a table inside a doughnut-shaped device. The inside X-ray tube of the device rotates around your body as it takes images of your chest and heart.
• A magnetic resonance imaging (also known as MRI) scan of the heart. A magnetic field and radio waves produced by a computer are used usually in a cardiac MRI to produce precise images of the heart.
Lifestyle adjustments including quitting smoking, eating well, and exercising more are typically part of the treatment for coronary artery disease. Sometimes it's necessary to use drugs and procedures.
To treat coronary artery disease, various medications are available, including:
- Medicines that lower cholesterol. Drugs may lower bad cholesterol and lessen the formation of plaque in the arteries. Statins, niacin, fibrates, and bile acid sequestrants are examples of such medications.
- Aspirin. Blood clots are avoided and helped by aspirin. For some persons, daily low-dose aspirin therapy may be suggested as the major defense against a heart attack or stroke.
- Aspirin use on a regular basis may cause serious adverse effects, such as bleeding in the intestines and stomach. Without consulting your doctor, don't start taking aspirin every day.
- Beta-agonists. These medicines lower heart rate. Additionally, they reduce blood pressure. Beta-blockers may lower your risk of having another heart attack if you've already had one.
- Blockers of calcium channels. If you are unable to use beta blockers or if they don't work for you, one of these medications can be suggested. Drugs that inhibit calcium channels may aid in reducing the symptoms of chest discomfort.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers and inhibitors of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (also called ACE) (ARBs). These drugs reduce blood pressure. They could prevent the progression of coronary artery disease.
- Nitroglycerin. Heart arteries are widened with this medication. It can lessen or reduce chest pain. You can get nitroglycerin as a tablet, spray, or patch.
- Ranolazine. Patients with chest pain could find this drug helpful (angina). It can be prescribed well along with beta-blockers or in place of them.
- A clogged artery occasionally needs to be treated surgically. Options include:
The installation of stents and coronary angioplasty. The main goal of this surgery is to clear blocked cardiac arteries. The other name for it is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). A very thin, flexible tube (catheter) is guided to the constricted section of the heart artery by the cardiologist. To help expand the narrowed artery and enhance blood flow, a small balloon is inflated.
During angioplasty, a very tiny wire-mesh tube (stent) may be inserted into the artery. The artery is then kept open by the stent. It helps in lessening the possibility of the artery narrowing once more. Some stents assist keep the arteries open by gradually releasing medication.