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Heart Disease

Heart disease can appear in many forms. It can make you feel ill and also make you feel as if you don't have enough energy to do the things you would like to do.

While some forms of heart disease cause pain in the chest, others like hypertension don’t cause any pain at all.

Types of Heart Disease

There are four main types of heart disease:

Heart Attack
A heart attack can cause a person to become quite ill or even die very quickly.
Heart attacks occur when part of the heart is not getting enough blood to do its work.
Many heart attacks can be treated, but this needs to happen quickly.
If you have symptoms of a heart attack you should call 911 or other emergency services for help immediately. 
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
  • Pain in the chest or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Extreme weakness​
High Blood Pressure (or "hypertension")

If your blood pressure is too high, your heart must work extra hard to move the blood around the body.​

Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes unable to move the blood around the body quickly enough and can lead to a constant feeling of being short of breath.​

Heart Arrhythmia

When the system that makes the heart beat has trouble working the heart beat becomes irregular.

When this happens the heart cannot pump blood efficiently, which can lead to a risk the blood clots forming in the heart.

This can cause stroke or heart attack.​

How is Heart Disease Diagnosed?

Heart disease is diagnosed by talking to a doctor about your symptoms.

Diagnosis can include:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests 
  • Electrocardiograms (tracings of the electrical signals from the heart that can be measured with stickers on your skin)
  • Stress tests or heart imaging tests

How is Heart Disease Treated?

If you have heart disease our doctors and their care teams can help you to get the treatment you need.

If you need a cardiologist, we can help you find one and work with both of you to find the best treatments for you.

Contact Us

Contact one of our family medicine locations to schedule an appointment.

Heart Disease: Additional Resources

Visit our patient education website for more information about heart disease:

Visit our Health Library for additional information about heart disease:

Contact a Family Medicine Health Center

UPMC's Department of Family Medicine has several locations throughout the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

Find a family medicine health center close to you and call us to make an appointment or find out how we can help you with your primary care needs.


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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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