Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition that affects your coronary arteries, which supply blood to your heart. With CAD, plaque buildup narrows or blocks one or more of your coronary arteries. Chest discomfort (angina) is the most common symptom. CAD can lead to a heart attack or other complications like arrhythmia or heart failure.
You might have CAD for many years and not have any symptoms until you experience a heart attack. That’s why CAD is a “silent killer.”
Over the years, CAD can also weaken your heart and lead to complications, including:
Arrhythmias (like atrial fibrillation).
Symptoms of chronic CAD include:
Stable angina: This is the most common symptom. Stable angina is temporary chest pain or discomfort that comes and goes in a predictable pattern. You’ll usually notice it during physical activity or emotional distress. It goes away when you rest or take nitroglycerin (medicine that treats angina).
Shortness of breath (dyspnea): Some people feel short of breath during light physical activity.
Sometimes, the first symptom of CAD is a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack include:
Chest pain or discomfort (angina). Angina can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. It may feel like heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness, squeezing or a dull ache. The discomfort may spread to your shoulder, arm, neck, back or jaw.
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
Nausea, stomach discomfort or vomiting. This may feel like indigestion.
Shortness of breath, fatigue and insomnia that began before the heart attack.
Pain in their back, shoulders, neck, arms or belly.
Feeling hot or flushed
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