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

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.

Study Supports BMI as a Screening Tool for Heart Health

Dec 19, 2018

The simple ratio of height to weight can identify young adults with increased health risks.

Women with Heart Disease Report Worse Treatment and Patient Satisfaction Than Men

Dec 19, 2018

Women are less likely to be taking preventive medicines and seek care at the ER more frequently.

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2018

Dec 13, 2018

This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.

Fluctuations in Weight, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Spell Trouble for Heart Health

Oct 23, 2018

Maintaining good health reduces risk for heart attack, stroke and death, shows Korean study of 6.7 million adults.

Racial Health Disparities Persist at Hospitals Across the Country

Sep 20, 2018

Analysis of U.S. hospital data shows that systemic issues may be to blame for health care disparities.

Anxiety and Depression Boost Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

Sep 19, 2018
Australian study finds that adults with high levels of anxiety and depression are at greater risk of life-threatening heart events.
CardioSmart News

CT Imaging Improves Treatments and Outcomes in Patients with Chest Pain

Sep 19, 2018

CT imaging reduces risk of heart attack and death by 41% in patients with recurrent chest pain.

CardioSmart News

An Update to European Guidelines for Managing Heart Disease During Pregnancy

Sep 18, 2018

Updated guidelines incorporate new research to minimize complications in women with heart disease.

CardioSmart News

Study Questions Fish Oil and Daily Aspirin in Healthy Diabetic Adults

Sep 05, 2018

Recent findings fail to support use of fish oil supplements and low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease in adults with diabetes.

Children Should Avoid Diet Drinks, Advise Experts

Aug 15, 2018

Experts can’t say with certainty that artificially sweetened drinks are safe, based on a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.

Study Supports Exercising Outdoors Despite Air Quality Concerns

Aug 15, 2018

Danish study finds that the benefits of exercise far outweigh the potential risks from exposure to air pollution.

Resuming Work After Heart Attack Linked to Better Outcomes

Jul 20, 2018

Study finds that heart attack survivors who don’t return to work tend to face poorer health, financial hardship, signs of depression.

Marriage Helps Protect the Heart

Jul 20, 2018

Study of more than 2 million adults finds that being married significantly reduces risk for heart attack, stroke and death.    

Erectile Dysfunction Associated with Increased Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Jul 13, 2018
Men with erectile dysfunction should discuss their risk for heart disease with their clinician.

Study Confirms the Heart-Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Jul 13, 2018
A second analysis reconfirms the results of a Spanish study demonstrating that a Mediterranean diet including olive oil and nuts can reduce heart risks. 

Health Literacy is Critical to Heart Disease Prevention

Jun 29, 2018
An American Heart Association statement addresses health literacy as a barrier to heart health. 

Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Jun 29, 2018
A lack of social support is linked to poorer health outcomes in heart patients.

OB/GYNs are Critical to Helping Fight Heart Disease in Women

Jun 12, 2018

Experts ask obstetricians and gynecologists to help educate their patients about heart disease.

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."