Disorders that affect the heart or blood vessels are called cardiovascular disorders. These disorders are usually divided into heart (cardiac) disorders and blood vessel (vascular) disorders. Heart disorders affect the heart, its valves, and the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle (coronary arteries). Vascular disorders may involve very large blood vessels, such as the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body, as well the large blood vessels that branch off the aorta. Peripheral vascular disorders affect the blood vessels of the arms, legs, and trunk.
No single symptom unmistakably indicates a heart disorder, but certain symptoms suggest the possibility, and several symptoms together may make the diagnosis almost certain. However, sometimes a heart disorder, even when serious, causes no symptoms until it reaches a late stage. Symptoms of disorders that affect the aorta, its branches, or peripheral blood vessels vary depending on where the affected blood vessels are located. Symptoms may include pain, muscle cramps, muscle fatigue, light-headedness, swelling, numbness, and a change in skin color of the affected part of the body.