Heart Disease Home > Heart Disease Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of heart disease occur when plaque buildup in the coronary arteries causes a reduction in blood flow to the heart. You can have heart disease for many years without experiencing symptoms. Often, the first symptom comes in the form of a heart attack. Other common symptoms include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, faster heartbeats, and dizziness.

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease

Just because you have heart disease does not mean that you are going to have heart disease symptoms. Plaque can be building up in your arteries, causing no noticeable symptoms. In fact, it usually takes many years of plaque buildup before signs and symptoms of heart disease appear. Symptoms generally appear when the coronary arteries have been sufficiently clogged to cause a reduction in blood to the heart. At this point, a person will experience symptoms indicative of clogged arteries.

Common Heart Disease Symptoms

The most common symptoms of this disease are:
  • Chest pain or discomfort (angina)
  • Pain in one or both arms, the left shoulder, neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Faster heartbeats
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Feeling very tired.
In many cases, these symptoms will come and go. Also, the severity of heart disease symptoms varies widely. Your symptoms may become more severe as your coronary arteries become narrower due to the buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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