Coronary artery disease forms once the major blood vessels, which are responsible for supplying your heart, become diseased or damaged. Most of the time, inflammation and plaques—deposits that contain cholesterol—within your coronary arteries are the major culprits of coronary artery disease.

Coronary arteries give nutrients, oxygen, and blood to your heart. An accumulation of plaque causes these arteries to narrow, which decreases blood flow to your heart. Over time, the reduced blood flow may result in shortness of breath, chest pain, or other symptoms and signs of coronary artery disease. A total blockage can lead to a heart attack.

Perhaps you won’t notice any problem at all until you encounter a heart attack or a significant blocker since coronary artery disease usually develops gradually over time. However, know that you can do steps to treat and prevent coronary artery disease and that is through having a healthy lifestyle.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

When your coronary arteries become narrow, they cannot supply sufficient oxygen-rich blood to your heart—particularly if it’s beating fast and hard like when you are exercising. Initially, the reduced flow of blood may not be due to any symptoms. However, while plaque keeps on accumulating in your coronary arteries, you may get the following symptoms and signs of coronary artery disease:

Heart attack

If your coronary artery gets completely blocked, it will result in a heart attack. Heart attack’s basic symptoms and signs may be sweating, shortness of breath, pain in your arm or shoulder, or crushing pressure in your chest. For women, they usually get symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Sometimes, a heart attack happens without any obvious symptoms or signs at all.

Shortness of breath

When your heart becomes incapable of pumping sufficient blood to meet the need of your body, you can possibly develop extreme fatigue or shortness of breath with activity.

Angina or chest pain

You’ll potentially feel tightness or pressure in your chest as if someone is standing on it. This pain, which is recognized as angina, commonly happens on the left side or the middle part of the chest. Generally, angina is triggered by emotional or physical stress. Most of the time, the pain goes away within a couple of minutes after you stop doing such stressful activity. For other individuals, particularly women, the pain may be sharp or brief that can be felt in the back, arm, or neck.

WHEN DO YOU NEED TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR?

If you believe that you are experiencing a heart attack, make sure to contact your local emergency number right away. When you do not have access to emergency medical services, request for someone to bring you to the closest hospital within your area. The last option would be to drive yourself.

If you’ve got any coronary artery disease risk factors like a family history of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, make sure to consult to your doctor as soon as possible for you to get tested for coronary artery disease, especially if you have progressive symptoms of coronary heart disease.