CHEST PAIN / DISCOMFORT

Treatment

Chest pain may indicate coronary artery disease, the build-up of cholesterol deposits within the walls of the heart arteries, resulting in narrowing of the arteries and insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle.

You may also experience discomfort in the centre or left side of the chest, which may spread to involve the arms, jaw, neck or back. Other associated symptoms include breathlessness, sweating and nausea.

Chest discomfort is usually first noticed during physical exertion but, as the disease progresses, discomfort occurs with less exertion and, in severe cases, may even occur at rest. Heart attack is the second leading cause of death in Singapore, after cancer.

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

Treatment

Shortness of breath may be a symptom of heart failure, which can result due to a variety of different diseases including:

• coronary artery disease
• heart valve disorders
• obesity
• high blood pressure
• diabetes
• certain viral infections
• inherited heart muscle disease

Heart failure usually presents with:

• shortness of breath on exertion and on lying flat
• fatigue
• distension of the abdomen
• swelling of the legs

Heart failure is a very serious condition with a high mortality rate if left untreated.

PALPITATIONS

Treatment

Palpitations may indicate presence of an arrhythmia (an underlying problem with the electrical conduction system of the heart).

You may have palpitations if you have the following symptoms:

• Skipped/missed heart beats
• Irregular heart beats
• Very fast or slow heart beats

You may also experience:

• chest discomfort
• shortness of breath
• giddiness
• fainting/loss of consciousness

GIDDINESS / FAINTING

Treatment

Giddiness and fainting may be a symptom of underlying heart disease. Disorders of heart structure and function (inherited heart muscle disease, heart valve disorders) and arrhythmias may result in the lack of blood flow to the brain and cause giddiness and fainting.