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 there isn’t enough blood flow to the heart muscle. Angina may feel like pressure in the chest, jaw or arm. It is most often brought on by exercise or stress. As the heart pumps harder to keep up with what you are doing, it needs more oxygen-rich blood. If this demand isn’t 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 (walking up stairs, after an emotional discussion or during stressful times). In fact, you usually know when it might happen, perhaps during a specific exercise. Even 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. 

The good news is that the symptoms of stable angina are usually short-lived and generally stop with rest or medicine. Some people with angina also report feeling lightheaded, overly tired, short of breath or nauseated. 

Because chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack (for example, with unstable angina when chest pain is very sudden and happens when you are not exerting yourself), it’s always best to tell your doctor about it and any other concerning symptoms. Keep in mind that there are a number of other reasons why you might have chest pain, like after 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

Many Adults Unaware of Their Need to Improve Heart Health

Jun 28, 2017

Study finds one in five adults at risk for heart disease feels no need to improve health.

Yo-Yo Dieting May Be Harmful for Patients with Heart Disease

Jun 06, 2017
Study links body weight fluctuation to increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death in patients with heart disease.

Coronary Artery Calcification Likely the Best Marker of Heart Health

May 16, 2017

Checking for calcium build-up in the heart’s arteries identifies patients at increased risk for heart disease, finds study.

Gum Disease and Tooth Loss Linked to Heart Risks in Older Women

May 10, 2017

Maintaining healthy gums may help reduce risk for heart disease.

CardioSmart News

Replacing Aspirin with Prescription Blood Thinner Appears Safe after Heart Attack

Apr 18, 2017

A stronger combination of blood thinners may be safe in heart attack patients, finds study.

Experts Help Clarify Who Should Take Fish Oil Supplements

Apr 13, 2017

Current research shows a lack of evidence to recommend fish oil supplements to the general population.

CardioSmart News

New Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Shows Promise for Patients with Heart Disease

Mar 28, 2017

PCSK9 inhibitors lower LDL and risk for heart complications, but access to the drug is an issue for many.

Healthy Lifestyle Prevents Heart Events in Chinese Adults

Mar 08, 2017

A large Chinese study highlights the power of prevention.

Experts Raise Awareness of a New Lipid Disorder

Feb 06, 2017
Treating a lesser-known lipid disorder may help patients reduce risk for heart disease.

Heart Failure Rates on the Rise, Show Latest Statistics

Feb 01, 2017

While heart failure has become an increasing concern, overall death rates from heart disease declined by 25% in recent years.

Raising Awareness for Early Signs of Heart Attack

Jan 27, 2017

Most younger heart patients experience warning signs in the week before a heart attack but few take action, finds study.

Alcohol Abuse Doubles Risk for Heart Disease

Jan 21, 2017

The negative health effects of alcohol abuse are similar to that of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, finds study.

Healthy Lifestyle Helps Offset Genetic Risk for Heart Disease

Nov 15, 2016
For patients with high genetic risk for heart disease, healthy lifestyle choices nearly cut risk in half, finds study.

A New Strategy to Prevent One Million Heart Attacks and Strokes

Nov 04, 2016
Experts hope to reduce heart attack and stroke rates by coupling a new risk estimation tool with a new insurance model.

Aspirin Use Remains Controversial in Patients without Heart Disease

Oct 27, 2016

Weighing risks and benefits of daily aspirin for primary prevention of heart disease remains challenging.

Flu Vaccine Critical for People with Heart Disease

Oct 25, 2016
Experts argue that the flu vaccine could be life-saving.

Exercising While Angry Increases Risk for Heart Attack

Oct 20, 2016

The effects of extreme emotion and vigorous exercise on the heart are multiplied when combined.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

Young Adults May Lose Interest in Sex After Heart Attack

Oct 01, 2016
High stress levels and diabetes significantly increased patients’ chances of experiencing sex problems in the year after heart attack.

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

Sep 17, 2016
Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.

Despite Statins, Familial Hypercholesterolemia Doubles Risk for Second Heart Attack

Aug 27, 2016

Study authors emphasize screening for the genetic disorder that causes dangerously high cholesterol.

Chocolate Protects Against Heart Attack

Aug 02, 2016

Three or more servings of chocolate a week reduces risk of heart attack, finds study.

Sleep Deprivation Takes a Toll on Heart Health

Jul 28, 2016

Many studies show that a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on heart health, but few have determined why.

CardioSmart News

Death Rate Rises Among Heart Attack Patients With Cardiogenic Shock

Jun 30, 2016
In-hospital outcomes not improving despite use of state-of-the-art measures.