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  • Writer's pictureDr Woo JW

Symptom Evaluation

Updated: Mar 6

Analysis for Accurate Heart Diagnosis

Nurse writing with a pen and clipboard with a patient on a sofa conversing

Assessing and evaluating symptoms is a crucial initial step in the healthcare process. It involves identifying and analysing the indicators and manifestations of a medical condition, which can result in an initial diagnosis and steer the course of treatment. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of symptom evaluation and its role in healthcare.

Symptom Evaluation involves interpreting physical and subjective symptoms presented by a patient. Symptom evaluation involves interpreting physical and subjective symptoms presented by a patient. Healthcare providers must understand what is happening in the body. It provides valuable information, leading to a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Symptom Evaluation starts with a detailed interview about symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. This is followed by a physical exam and diagnostic tests if necessary.

With the rise of digital technology, symptom checker tools have gained immense popularity. These tools enable individuals to enter their symptoms and receive a list of potential health conditions. Although such tools can be useful, they should not be considered a substitute for consulting with a healthcare professional.

Remember, while symptom checkers can be a useful starting point, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and information.

Common Heart Health Symptoms

  • Chest pain Chest pain is a concerning symptom as that may be the first evidence of coronary artery disease. Hence, patients with chest pain need proper clinical assessment to assess if the chest pain that they are having is indeed coming from the heart. Further evaluation may involve a treadmill ECG test, a heart scan, or a coronary angiogram depending on the clinical context.

  • Shortness of breath Shortness of breath can be due to several causes. It can be the first sign of several cardiac conditions including valvular heart disease, heart failure and coronary artery disease. They can also be due to lung conditions such as chronic obstructive lung disease which is common among smokers. Shortness of breath can also be due to low blood counts in the blood which may also be due to serious underlying conditions such as cancer. Hence, the initial clinical assessment would involve trying to differentiate between these conditions. Following this, appropriate investigations and therapies can be initiated together with appropriate subspecialists if required.

  • Palpitations Palpitations are the abnormal sensation of the heartbeat. This may manifest as a sensation of heart beating faster than usual, skipped beats or simply feeling like “something is not right”. While a presumptive diagnosis is often made on the description of the sensation, a definitive diagnosis has to be made when an ECG is taken during the sensation itself to document what the heart is doing at that specific point in time. Thus, the diagnosis may potentially be obtained by getting a 24-hour monitoring of the heart rhythm via a patch pasted on the chest. The underlying cause of palpitations can be benign or due to conditions which may potentially be life-threatening. Hence, prompt evaluation and clinical assessment are often needed to ascertain if your sensation of palpitations is due to a cause which can potentially be dangerous.

  • Lower leg swelling Lower leg swelling is a common symptom, especially among the elderly population. Most commonly they are due to incompetent veins in the legs or side effects of medications. However, they can also be due to cardiac conditions as well as kidney or liver issues. Initial evaluation of leg swelling would usually involve blood tests as well as a cardiac ultrasound. Further therapies can then be planned after initial evaluation.

At Sunrise Heart Specialist Clinic, Dr. Woo and his team are dedicated to keeping your heart healthy. With years of experience and a passion for heart health, we provide top-notch care tailored to your needs. Book an appointment today and take the first step towards a healthier heart. Your heart doesn’t rest, and neither do we.

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