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

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A large Chinese study highlights the power of prevention.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Flu Vaccine Critical for People with Heart Disease

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Experts argue that the flu vaccine could be life-saving.

Exercising While Angry Increases Risk for Heart Attack

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

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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

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ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

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“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

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Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.

Despite Statins, Familial Hypercholesterolemia Doubles Risk for Second Heart Attack

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

Chocolate Protects Against Heart Attack

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

Sleep Deprivation Takes a Toll on Heart Health

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

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Patients with history of angioplasty or who had no previous interventions are treated faster, study finds.
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Study shows higher risk of death or rehospitalization in first 60 days after discharge; gap narrows after one year.
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Death Rate Rises Among Heart Attack Patients With Cardiogenic Shock

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In-hospital outcomes not improving despite use of state-of-the-art measures.

"Silent" Heart Attacks Common in Middle-Aged Adults

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Nearly half of all heart attacks go unnoticed.

Patients Shy Away From Sex After a Heart Attack, Study Finds

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Despite being safe for most patients, many adults with heart disease avoid sexual activity.

Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Against Heart Attack and Stroke

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Researchers highlight the importance of choosing wholesome foods rather than avoiding nutrient-poor foods.

Night Shifts Take a Toll on Heart Health

Jun 13, 2016
A study on U.S. female nurses finds that overnight work increases risk for heart attack.
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New Decision-Making Tool Improves Patient Satisfaction with Chest Pain Treatment

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A simple pamphlet helps clarify treatment options for people in the ER for chest pain.