What are the Early Signs of Heart Disease?


Even though the heart is one of the most important organs in the body, it most often does its job unnoticed. Year after year, our hearts pump blood through our bodies, providing every single one of our cells with the nutrients required to keep all our systems in order.  When the heart is healthy, we don’t think much about it. And despite the important role the heart plays in our overall health, most people don’t recognize the signs of heart problems when they develop.

In addition to making daily heart-healthy choices, it’s important to learn the types of heart conditions that can develop and become familiar their signs and symptoms.

Heart disease signs and symptoms

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, includes a range of conditions that impede the heart’s ability to do its job. Some of the signs and symptoms of heart disease are easy to mistake or dismiss as run-of-the-mill discomforts or annoyances. For example, heartburn isn’t always a sign of heart disease, but when combined with neck pain, shortness of breath, and nausea, it could point to a serious heart problem. Take a look below at some of the types of heart conditions and their symptoms, and be sure to alert your doctor if you have any concerns.

Heart attack – A clot clogs blood flow to the heart.

Signs include:

  • Neck pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Heartburn

  • Nausea

  • Upper body discomfort

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness

Congestive heart failure – The heart muscle is weakened.

Signs include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fluid build up in the lungs

  • Fatigue

  • Swelling in feet, legs, ankles, abdomen, and neck veins

Cardiac arrhythmia – Heart rhythms are abnormally slow, fast, or irregular.

Signs include:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Loss of consciousness


Valve problems – Valves are narrow, stiff, leaky, or otherwise faulty.

Signs include:

  • Chest pain or palpitations

  • Shortness of breath

  • Lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

  • Swollen ankles, feet, or abdomen

As noted, the individual signs and symptoms listed above won’t always point to heart disease, but if you experience extreme symptoms or combinations of symptoms, talk to your doctor.  The better care you take of your heart, the longer it can keep taking care of you.

Skilled nursing facility for heart disease treatment

If you have been hospitalized for a heart condition and require additional care after you’ve been discharged, Bella Vista Health Center can provide you with extended care in our 5-star skilled nursing facility. Our short-term rehabilitation program allows for individuals recovering from surgery, illness, or injury to recuperate in a comfortable, therapeutic environment. Every guest at Bella Vista is cared for by a team of medical specialists dedicated to helping facilitate a quick return to optimal health and independent living.  If you or someone you know is in need of cardiovascular rehabilitation, please give us a call at 619-644-1000 or stop by and see us in Lemon Grove.