Symptoms and Signs of Heart Disease

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021

Doctor's Notes on Heart Disease

Heart disease (cardiac disease) describes any disorder that affects the heart. It is not the same as cardiovascular disease, which is any disease of the heart blood vessels.

Some people with heart disease may have no apparent symptoms. Arteries may be blocked 50% or more without causing any symptoms. When symptoms of heart disease do occur, they may include

Sudden cardiac arrest can occur when the heart suddenly stops beating effectively. This condition can be fatal.  Cardiac arrest typically occurs in people who have had previous heart attacks, but it may occur as the first symptom of heart disease.

What is the Treatment for Heart Disease?

Treatment for heart disease depends on the specific condition and may include:

  • Lifestyle changes 
    • Don’t smoke
    • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods with a lot of fiber
    • Avoid foods high in sugar
    • Exercise regularly
    • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Medications  
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
    • Statins to lower cholesterol
    • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors 
    • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
    • Anti-arrhythmic medications
    • Beta-blockers
    • Diuretics
    • Vasodilators 
    • Nitrates
    • Aspirin or other medications to help prevent blood clots
    • Medicines to treat diabetes
  • Surgery
    • Stenting
    • Bypass surgery (also called coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG) 
    • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, or angioplasty)
    • Heart valve repair
    • Valve replacement
    • Implantable devices
    • Heart transplantation

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.