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Coronary Artery Disease

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease symptoms usually appear when a coronary artery has narrowed to the point where blood flow to the heart is reduced. However, before this point is reached, plaque can be building up in the arteries without causing any noticeable symptoms of coronary artery disease.
Even though many people do not have early symptoms of coronary artery disease, some people do. In this case, symptoms may include:
  • Chest or arm pain or discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath (feeling like you can't get enough air)
  • Dizziness
  • Faster heartbeats
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Feeling very tired.
In some people, the first symptom of coronary artery disease is a heart attack (see Heart Attack Symptoms).


When blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart are reduced or cut off, you can develop:
  • Angina. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart is not getting enough blood.
  • Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a blood clot suddenly cuts off most or all of the blood supply to part of the heart. Cells in the heart muscle that do not receive enough oxygen-carrying blood begin to die. This can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Over time, coronary artery disease can weaken your heart muscle and contribute to:
  • Heart failure. In heart failure, the heart is not able to pump blood to the rest of the body effectively. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. But it does mean that your heart is failing to pump blood the way that it should.
  • Arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal rhythm of the heartbeats. Some can be quite serious.
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