Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. As such, it's important to be aware of a few things such as the common causes, the symptoms, and how it is diagnosed. This article will take a closer look at a few things that you should know. Are you ready to learn a little bit more? If so, then read on. 

How Is It Caused? 

Your heart is made up of a variety of different valves and arteries which pump blood and oxygen to and from your heart. When plaque builds up inside of these arteries, it can prevent blood from flowing properly which is what causes heart disease. If left untreated, heart disease can result in things like a heart attack or heart failure. 

There are several causes of heart disease including genetics, obesity, smoking, a poor diet, and a lack of exercise. 

What Are the Symptoms? 

At the early stages of heart disease, patients may not experience many noticeable symptoms. However, as it advances, patients start to experience a variety of other symptoms including shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, fainting, lightheadedness, or either a racing or slowing heartbeat. The tricky thing about these symptoms, though, is that they can be signs of other health concerns that aren't heart disease. So, if you are starting to experience any of these symptoms, then it may be time for you to get some valid testing done.

How Is It Diagnosed? 

When patients come into the hospital complaining of heart disease related issues, it's not something that doctors take lightly, in fact, it's quite the opposite. Different types of tests for heart disease include:

  1. Phased array ultrasonic exams: It used to be that doctors could only use single-dimensional imaging to get pictures of the heart. However, with phased array ultrasonic examinations, they can now get a two-dimensional image of the heart which helps them to properly scan every artery in the heart to check for things like plaque build-up. Another great thing about this type of imaging is that it gives doctors real-time results that they won't have to wait around for. 
  2. Electrocardiogram: One of the most popular tools needed to diagnose heart disease is an electrocardiogram. This test, which is also called an ECG or an EKG, uses electrodes to detect abnormalities with the heart. 

If you want to learn a little bit more, reach out to a heart specialist near you.