What Are The Symptoms of Cardiac Ischemia?

The American Heart Association has created a table of symptoms and warning signs of which everyone should be aware.

Sign or Symptom Why It Happens People with Heart
Failure May Experience...
Shortness of breath (also called dyspnea) Blood "backs up" in the pulmonary veins (the vessels that return blood from the lungs to the heart) because the heart can't keep up with the supply. This causes fluid to leak into the lungs. . . breathlessness during activity (most commonly), at rest, or while sleeping, which may come on suddenly and wake them up. They often have difficulty breathing while lying flat and may need to prop up the upper body and head on two pillows. They often complain of waking up tired or feeling anxious and restless.
Persistent coughing or wheezing Fluid builds up in the lungs (see above). . . . coughing that produces white or pink blood-tinged mucus.
Buildup of excess fluid in body tissues (edema) As blood flow out of the heart slows, blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing fluid to build up in the tissues. The kidneys are less able to dispose of sodium and water, also causing fluid retention in the tissues. . . . a tired feeling all the time and difficulty with everyday activities, such as shopping, climbing stairs, carrying groceries or walking.
Lack of appetite, nausea The digestive system receives less blood, causing problems with digestion. . . a feeling of being full or sick to their stomach.
Confusion, impaired thinking Changing levels of certain substances in the blood, such as sodium, can cause confusion. . . memory loss and feelings of disorientation. A caregiver or relative may notice this first.
Increased heart rate To "make up for" the loss in pumping capacity, the heart beats faster. . . heart palpitations, which feel like the heart is racing or throbbing.
Tiredness, fatigue The heart can't pump enough blood to meet the needs of body tissues. The body diverts blood away from less vital organs, particularly muscles in the limbs, and sends it to the heart and brain. . . a tired feeling all the time and difficulty with everyday activities, such as shopping, climbing stairs, carrying groceries or walking.

 

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