You may notice a sharp pain in your chest, known as angina. The painoften described as pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, burning, or a dull achewill likely last a few minutes before fading.
The pain is hard to pinpoint, although some people describe it by holding a fist to their chest. (Note: Burning chest pain following a meal is more likely to be acid reflux than angina. If an antacid eases the pain, it's heartburn.)
Unpredictable pain can mean heart attack
At first, you're only likely to notice angina when you're exercising. The pain should ease quickly as you rest.
But if plaque continues to build, your heart may start complaining any time of day in any situation. It may even wake you up in the middle of the night. Unpredictable or unstable angina is a powerful predictor of a heart attack.
When breathlessness is cause for concern
A heart that isn't getting enough blood is also not getting enough oxygen. For that reason, people with coronary artery disease may feel breathless and unusually tired. Of course, everyone gets breathless and tired sometimes.