Heart disease is a term commonly used to describe coronary artery disease caused by narrowed or blocked heart arteries (hardening of the arteries). But, heart disease is also an umbrella term for any disorder, condition, or disease affecting the heart. This includes, but is not limited to:
Our heart care experts at Dignity Health Southern California are highly trained and equipped to help you prevent, manage, or treatment your heart disease in Southern California. Find a Doctor at your nearest location today:
Signs & Symptoms of Heart Disease
Heart disease can be asymptomatic in its early stages. When symptoms do occur, they may range from mild to severe.
Signs and symptoms of heart disease may include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Discomfort or pain in your upper body or back including your arm or jaw
- Angina (chest pain)
- Swelling of your feet or legs
- High cholesterol levels
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or feeling faint
- Pain, pressure, or a squeezing sensation in your chest
- Excessive perspiration during minimal exertion
If you are experiencing chest pain, call 911. Chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack, which requires emergency medical attention.
Diagnosing Heart Disease
When you come to Dignity Health Southern California, your doctor will evaluate your heart health through a physical exam and several tests. If possible, make sure you know your family’s history of heart disease. This information can help your doctor arrive at a diagnosis and plan a treatment strategy.
Diagnostic tests for heart disease may include:
- EKG (electrocardiogram, or ECG), a noninvasive test that records your heart rhythm
- Stress test, an EKG that shows how your heart responds to physical demands like walking
- Blood tests to check key heart health markers, such as cholesterol levels
- Chest X-ray to look for signs of an enlarged heart
- Cardiac catheterization, a minimally invasive procedure that allows your doctor to see the inside of your blood vessels and perform certain treatments as necessary
- Echocardiogram, a noninvasive test that produces a moving picture of your beating heart using ultrasound
Based on your test results, your doctor will create a comprehensive treatment plan just for you.
Most people have at least one risk factor for heart disease, but many wait too long before getting help. Learn your risk by taking our free heart health assessment today.
Dignity Health provides specialized care for cardiovascular conditions, including heart disease, in Southern California.