Symtoms of Ischaemic Heart Disease

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In the event of a coronary blockage, the cells forming the heart muscle suffer a reduced oxygen and nutrient supply, which manifests as chest pain.

Person holding hand to chest, with chest pain or chest pain

Chest painThe pain that usually characterises Ischaemic Heart Disease is described as tightness in the chest which can occasionally radiate to the base of the neck, the jaw, arms (normally the left arm) or back. It is sometimes accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, cold sweats, nausea and vomiting, palpitations or even loss of consciousness.

It should be taken into account that pain arising from Ischaemic Heart Disease does not always present such typical characteristics, particularly in as women, the elderly and patients with diabetes. In some cases Ischaemic Heart Disease can present with pain in the upper abdomen, whereas on other occasions shortness of breath is the only symptom.

If you notice any discomfort in your chest, even if it is not one of the typical symptoms described above, then you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Person holding hands to neck, sweating, pale, unable to breathe, feeling short of breath, choking or breathlessness

Shortness of breath (dyspnoea).The heart becomes weaker and can no longer pump blood towards the rest of the body. Therefore blood stagnates in the lungs, which fill with fluid, and it becomes harder to breathe. This is one of the most significant complications because it indicates that the infarction (or angina) is severe.

Heart and electrocardiogram, heart palpitations

 Palpitations. Patients notice a strong, or offbeat, heartbeat in their chest which could be secondary to an arrhythmia. There are many types of palpitation of varying severity, but they all tend to produce a rapid pulse and a fluttering or thumping feeling in the chest

Person with sweat, nausea and vomiting next to a toilet

Sweating, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may all appear together or individually. In reality they are caused by the body’s response, specifically that of the nervous system, to the heart muscle ischaemia which represents a serious injury.

Person fainting

Loss of consciousness. In the context of an infarction a loss of consciousness is due to problems with the heart’s electrical conduction or the presence of severe arrhythmias, because it loses all capacity to pump blood (cardiac arrest).

Pain that can be confused with heart attack pain

Substantiated information by:

Manel Sabaté Tenas
Marta Farrero Torres

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

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