Heart Disease Home > Symptoms of Heart Disease

Common symptoms of heart disease include chest or arm pain or discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath. It's important to remember that many people experience no symptoms at all; it often takes many years for heart disease to cause noticeable symptoms. For some people, the first symptoms of the condition come with having a heart attack.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease: An Overview

Heart 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 any causing any noticeable symptoms.

Common Heart Disease Symptoms

Even though many people do not have early symptoms of heart disease, if a person does have symptoms, they may include:
  • Chest or arm pain or discomfort
  • 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.
Often, these symptoms will come and go.

First Symptom -- A Heart Attack

In some people, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes blocked, most commonly by a blood clot.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
  • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest for more than 20 minutes. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Pain or discomfort lasting more than 20 minutes in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or feeling faint or woozy.
Some people may have more vague symptoms, such as:
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems breathing
  • Indigestion (upset stomach)
  • Anxiety (feeling uneasy or worried).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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