Messages from the Heart: Signs and Symptoms of Heart-Related Concerns

The vital organ at the heart of the circulatory system, the heart itself, preforms tasks inside the body which, unless an issue arises, aren’t given much thought. In honor of Heart Health Awareness Month, we are taking a closer look at what the heart does, what it means to be and stay heart healthy and how to know when a heart-related issue may be present. The heart performs four main functions:

  • Pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body
  • Pumping hormones and other substances to various body parts
  • Receiving deoxygenated blood and carrying metabolic waste from the body to the lungs for oxygenation
  • Maintaining blood pressure

When these processes are impeded, a range of symptoms can occur. With the heart playing a major role in everyday functioning, maintaining its health and knowing when there may be a problem is imperative. There are many different types of heart conditions that can impact daily living, some of which include heart valve disease, heart attack, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, congenital heart defects, heart failure and more. Knowing when something feels off and seeking medical care is vital. Signs of these conditions vary and may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Limited or inability to exercise
  • Dizziness, fatigue or fainting
  • Chest pain/pressure or pain that radiates to your back, jaw or arm
  • Swelling
  • A rapid, irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating, nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Heart attack

The best way to diagnose a heart condition is to see your doctor. If a heart condition is present, your doctor can plan a course of action that may incorporate medication, lifestyle changes, surgery etc. If you or your loved one experiences any concerning symptoms, it is important to seek immediate medical care.
The occurrence of a heart-related issue can be reduced with diet, exercise and making healthy choices. Reducing your risk of a heart condition consists of daily decisions that put your health first. This month and all year long, know the signs, take preventative measures and maintain a healthy heart for healthy living.


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