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Signs You're Getting "the Deadliest Disease in the World"

Coronary artery disease—or ischaemic heart disease—is responsible for 16% of the world’s total deaths, says WHO.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

On a global level, "the world's biggest killer is ischaemic heart disease, responsible for 16% of the world's total deaths," reports WHO. No wonder Healthline calls the problem, also referred to as coronary artery disease, "the deadliest disease in the world." So how do you know if you're getting it? "CAD is caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart and other parts of the body," says the CDC. When these coronary arteries are blocked by the narrowing plaque buildup, the blood flow is blocked. You can guess what happens next. Read on for the main symptoms of CAD—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.


You May Have Angina

man isolated on gray background touching his face and closing eyes with expression of horrible suffer from health problem and aching tooth, showing dissatisfaction

"Angina, or chest pain and discomfort, is the most common symptom of CAD," says the CDC. "Angina can happen when too much plaque builds up inside arteries, causing them to narrow. Narrowed arteries can cause chest pain because they can block blood flow to your heart muscle and the rest of your body." "Angina may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The pain also may occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back," says Michigan Medicine.


You May Have Arrhythmias

ekg ecg heart test with stethoscope

"Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure and arrhythmias," says Michigan Medicine. "Heart failure is a condition in which your heart can't pump enough blood throughout your body. Arrhythmias are problems with the speed or rhythm of your heartbeat."


You May Have a Heart Attack

man having heart attack

"For many people, the first clue that they have CAD is a heart attack," says the CDC. "Symptoms of heart attack include

  • Chest pain or discomfort (angina)
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath"


If You're a Woman, You're More Likely to Have These Symptoms

"Women are somewhat less likely than men to experience chest pain," says the National Institutes of Health. "Instead, they are more likely to experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pressure or tightness in the chest
  • Stomach pain

Women are also more likely than men to have no symptoms of coronary heart disease."


You May Have Heart Failure

Doctor with a defibrillator saves life

"Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle," says the CDC. "This may lead to heart failure, a serious condition where the heart can't pump blood the way it should."

RELATED: The Easiest Way to Avoid a Heart Attack, Say Doctors


What to Do if You Feel You Have These Symptoms

An ambulance on an emergency call driving through the town center of Fairhope

"The symptoms may get worse as the buildup of plaque continues to narrow the coronary arteries," says the NIH. "Chest pain or discomfort that does not go away or happens more often or while you are resting might be a sign of a heart attack. If you do not know whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away. All chest pain should be checked by a doctor." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek