Signs of coronary artery disease range from no symptoms at all to severe, depending on the individual and the progression of the disease. The most common symptom is angina (chest pain), which can feel like increasing heaviness, burning, numbness, squeezing, pain or just discomfort. It can radiate from the chest into the left arm, jaw, neck, mid-back or right arm. Angina is often mistaken for indigestion. Often the first sign of CAD is sudden death from an acute MI (50% of people find out they have CAD this way, according to research).
Other symptoms of coronary artery disease can include:
- Difficulty catching one’s breath
- Heart palpitations
- Racing heartbeat
- Dizzy sensation
- Excessive sweating
- Overall weakness
- Increased fatigue in women
- Disturbed sleep in women
- Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, can be the first symptom of coronary artery disease.
Asymptomatic Coronary Artery Disease
When coronary artery disease is present and does not exhibit symptoms, it is referred to as “silent ischemia” and can lead to a “silent heart attack,” which is a heart attack that goes undetected because there are no symptoms.