• Loading results...
  • text 1
  • text 2
Please enter a valid search term

Signs and Symptoms

The signs of coronary artery disease can vary. Some people have no symptoms at all, which is fairly typical during the early stages of the disease. For others, chest pain or chest pressure—or even a heart attack—might be the first sign of blockages in the heart's arteries.

Chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of reduced blood flow to the heart (also known as angina). It occurs when the heart isn't getting enough oxygen or blood. People describe it as pain, pressure, squeezing or fullness in their chest. But this feeling can also be very subtle.

Chest pain or discomfort can be brought on by activity or extreme emotion, but it usually subsides with rest. You may also feel short of breath, generally weak or unusually tired. Women more often than men may not have chest pain; their symptoms may be limited to pain in their neck, jaw or back.

Severe narrowing or blockage of an artery can also lead to heart attack, which can happen when plaque ruptures into the artery and a clot forms to heal the injury.

When to Call for Help

If you think you are having a heart attack, don't question it. Act fast and dial 911 if you or a loved one has any of these symptoms.

Differences in Symptoms of Heart Attack/Angina Based on Sex
Men–usually more classic signsWomen–may be more subtle
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or that radiates to the neck, jaw or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or that radiates to the neck, jaw or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing with usual activities (often in the weeks leading up to a heart attack)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Last Edited 06/30/2016