Chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath
may be the earliest signs of heart disease. A person may feel
heaviness, tightness, pain, burning, pressure, or squeezing, usually
behind the breastbone but sometimes also in the arms, neck, or jaws.
These signs usually bring the patient to a doctor for the first time.
Nevertheless, some people have heart disease without ever having any
of these symptoms.
It is important to know that there is a
wide range of severity for heart disease. Some people have no symptoms
at all, some have mild intermittent chest pain, and some have more
pronounced and steady pain. Still others have heart disease that is
severe enough to make normal everyday activities difficult.
Because heart disease
varies so much from one person to another,
the way a doctor diagnoses and treats
heart disease will also vary a lot.