Angina

It’s vital to recognize symptoms and seek immediate medical care.

Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn more about Angina
Angina is a type of pain that occurs when not enough blood flows to the heart muscle. Angina may feel like pressure in the chest, jaw or arm. It frequently may occur with exercise or stress. Some people with angina also report feeling lightheaded, overly tired, short of breath or nauseated.  As the heart pumps harder to keep up with what you are doing, it needs more oxygen-rich blood. If this demand is not met, you may feel pain or discomfort in your chest.

If you have what is called stable angina, this pain or tightness is often triggered by a consistent high level of activity, such as during stressful times or walking upstairs after an emotional discussion. In fact, you usually know when it might happen, perhaps during a specific exercise. Cold weather or eating large meals—both of which can make the heart work harder—can result in chest pain if you have heart disease. In contrast, if you have unstable angina, your chest pain suddenly worsens, either being more severe or occurring with less exertion or at rest.

The good news is that the symptoms of stable angina are usually short-lived and generally stop with rest or medicine. 

Because chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack, it is always best to tell your doctor about it and any other concerning symptoms. Keep in mind that there are other reasons why you might have chest pain, like eating too quickly, acid reflux, muscle spasms or breathing issues. 

The best way to prevent angina is to adopt heart-healthy habits. You should also keep track of when your chest pain occurs, where you feel it, for how long and what seems to make it better or worse. Use this condition center to learn more about angina. You can keep up with the latest research, find questions to ask your doctor, and get tips to help you feel your best.

Angina News & Events

Study Probes the Benefits of Routine Depression Screening in Heart Attack Survivors

Oct 28, 2019
Screening and treatment fails to improve outcomes among heart attack survivors.

Dog Owners Recover Better After Heart Events, Study Shows

Oct 21, 2019

The social support and physical activity that come with dog ownership can lead to better health outcomes after heart attack or stroke.

Lowering Triglycerides to Reduce Heart Risks

Oct 07, 2019

Study confirms cardiovascular benefits of lowering triglycerides with therapies including an omega-3 fatty acid.

Staying Young at Heart: It's Never Too Early to Start Healthy Habits

Oct 03, 2019

Expert recommendations help healthy individuals prevent heart disease.

Diet Soda and Sugary Drinks May Affect Lifespan, Study Finds

Sep 29, 2019
Two or more sodas a day shown to increase risk of death in nearly half a million Europeans.

Too Much and Too Little Sleep Increases Heart Attack Risk

Sep 17, 2019

Getting six to nine hours of sleep a night may reduce risk for heart attack.

Consumption of Plant-Based Proteins Could Add Years to Your Life

Sep 17, 2019

Study suggests that we eat plenty of plant-based foods, while limiting red and processed meat.

Not All Plant-Based Foods are Created Equal

Sep 13, 2019
Just because a food is vegetarian does not mean it promotes health and longevity. 

Binge Watching TV is Worse for the Heart Than a Desk Job

Jul 15, 2019

Study links TV watching, but not seated work, to increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol Disorder Overlooked in Many Young Heart Attack Patients

Jun 19, 2019

Familial hypercholesterolemia is overlooked and undertreated.

Air Pollution Shortens Lifespan by Two Years

Jun 19, 2019

A new model suggests that death toll from air pollution is twice as high as initial estimates.

Study Supports Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment in All Adults with Diabetes

Jun 04, 2019
Intensive blood pressure treatment isn't just for high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes.

Ability to Stand and Walk Helps Identify High-Risk Elderly Adults After Heart Attack

Jun 03, 2019

Experts develop a risk model to identify which elderly adults are likely to experience complications after a heart attack.

Taking Care of Your Teeth Benefits Heart Health

May 08, 2019
Frequent tooth brushing and dental visits could reduce risk for heart disease, finds study of a large Korean registry.

Implantable Monitor Identifies Heart Attacks Earlier, Reduces Delay in Treatment

May 01, 2019
“Symptom-to-door” time—how long it takes to get to hospital after symptoms arise—is reduced by nearly half in study of high-risk patients.
CardioSmart News

Interval Training Gets Patients in Shape After a Heart Attack

Apr 03, 2019
Workouts alternating between low- and high-intensity help patients in cardiac rehab trim excess abdominal fat.

Study Links E-Cigarettes to Heart Attacks, Heart Disease and Depression

Mar 07, 2019

U.S. survey study links e-cigarette use to increased risk for heart problems and a host of other health issues.

Flu Shot Helps Prevent Heart Attack

Mar 07, 2019
A study of 30 million patients shows the flu vaccination reduces risk for heart attack by 10% in patients after hospitalization.

Latest Statistics Say Nearly Half of Americans Have Some Form of Heart Disease

Feb 19, 2019
An annual report from the American Heart Association explains the rise in heart disease rates and emphasizes prevention.

Experts Highlight the Strong Link Between Depression and Heart Disease

Feb 19, 2019
Given high rates of depression among heart patients, experts encourage better screening and treatment for mental health.

Smoking, Hypertension and High Cholesterol are Common in Young Adults Suffering First Heart Attack

Feb 07, 2019
Nearly all 1.5 million study participants had at least one modifiable risk factor.

A New Tool Helps Predict Heart-Health Benefits from Diabetes Treatment

Jan 22, 2019
Risk prediction tool could aid patients in treatment decisions for type 2 diabetes.

Study Supports Enhanced Screening Prior to Invasive Heart Disease Imaging

Jan 10, 2019

Better screening could reduce unnecessary tests and procedures in patients being evaluated for heart disease, study finds.

Women Wait Longer to Seek Treatment for Heart Attack, Study Finds

Jan 10, 2019

Experts urge women to call 911 at first signs of heart attack, based on study that highlights delays in treatment.

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk for Heart Events in Women

Dec 19, 2018
Study finds that the Mediterranean diet reduces cardiovascular risk by minimizing inflammation, controlling blood sugar and promoting a healthy weight.

Featured Video

Women often experience heart attack symptoms differently than men. It's important for a woman to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and react quickly by calling 911.

Infographic: Heart Attack

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Featured Video

It's important for men to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, remain calm and quickly call 911. Under no circumstances should men try to "tough it out."