Types of Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease, sometimes called hardening of the arteries, is caused by narrowing or blocking of the blood vessels that go to your heart.

Your blood carries oxygen and other needed materials to your heart. If the blood vessels to your heart become partially or totally blocked by fatty deposits, then the blood supply is reduced or cut off. Then a heart attack, sometimes called a myocardial infarction or MI, can occur.

What are the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack?

Become familiar with these signs:

  • chest pain or discomfort
  • pain or discomfort in your arms, back, jaw, neck or stomach
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • indigestion or nausea
  • light-headedness
  • tiredness or fatigue

You may not experience all of these symptoms, and they may come and go. Chest pain that doesn't go away after resting may signal a heart attack. Diabetes can cause nerve damage that can make heart attacks painless or "silent." If you have warning signs of a heart attack, call 911.

Heart Failure

In heart failure, the heart is less able to pump blood. Heart failure may be caused by a number of problems, such as heart attack, coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. In congestive heart failure, another heart condition, fluid builds up inside body tissues such as the lungs. Then breathing becomes difficult.

What are the warning signs of heart failure?
Warning signs can differ among people but they include:

  • shortness of breath
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • swelling of the feet and ankles (from fluid retention)

Learn More about heart disease and stroke from the Reducing Cardiometabolic Risk Toolkit.

  • Last Reviewed: June 6, 2013
  • Last Edited: April 30, 2014

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