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

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.

Calculations of Cardiovascular Risk are Outdated, Study Finds

Jun 12, 2018

New Zealand study finds current tools greatly overestimate 5–year risk of developing heart disease.

Advances in an Alternative Procedure to Open Heart Surgery

Jun 07, 2018

Recent medical statement highlights the evolution of percutaneous coronary intervention and for which heart patients it is most appropriate.

A Closer Look at Unexplained Chest Pain

May 15, 2018

Study sheds light on the needs of those who experience chest pain but don’t have heart disease.

California Wildfires Tied to Uptick in Heart Events

May 09, 2018
Statewide study shows increased heart-related hospital visits during the 2015 wildfire season.
CardioSmart News

Wearable Defibrillators Provide Temporary Fix for Heart Attack Patients

Apr 10, 2018
The device could be lifesaving for heart attack patients at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Raising Awareness for Heart Attacks Caused by SCAD

Apr 03, 2018
Experts highlight a common cause of heart attack in young, healthy women.

Marijuana and Cocaine are Risky for Heart Attack Survivors

Mar 22, 2018

Heart attack survivors with a history of marijuana and cocaine use have worse long-term survival, finds study.

Heart Attacks Often Follow Extreme Temperature Changes

Mar 07, 2018

Climate change may increase heart attack risk, a Michigan study suggests.

CardioSmart News

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Makes Heart Attack Twice as Likely

Mar 06, 2018
Individuals with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are encouraged to discuss their heart disease risk and prevention strategies with their health care team.
CardioSmart News

Optimism Improves Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Chest Pain

Mar 06, 2018

Study finds that having a positive outlook could mean fewer hospitalizations for those with chronic angina.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking Far Outweigh Risks of Weight Gain

Feb 04, 2018
Smokers should not hesitate to quit smoking.

Current Guidelines Fail to Identify Young Adults at Risk for Early Heart Attack

Jan 22, 2018
Study highlights a missed opportunity for providing preventive treatment to young adults.

Study Clarifies How Often We Should Measure Calcium in the Arteries

Dec 21, 2017
Repeat testing for coronary artery calcium has little benefit for certain patients.

Moderate Exercise Reduces Risk of Death in Women

Dec 14, 2017
A study of more than 17,000 women links physical activity to a longer, healthier life.

Half of Patients with Ideal Cholesterol Have Underlying Heart Risks

Dec 14, 2017
Many patients with optimal health have dangerous plaque build-up in their arteries.

Medication Adherence Remains Challenging for Heart Patients

Dec 12, 2017
Taking medication as directed is critical to improving outcomes.

The Heart Health Benefits of Nuts

Nov 14, 2017
A recent study links peanuts and walnuts to significantly reduced risk for heart disease.
I am CardioSmart

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 31, 2017

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Gestational Diabetes Increases Women's Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Oct 25, 2017

The onset of high blood sugar during pregnancy serves as an early warning sign for future heart risks.

Tai Chi Boosts Quality of Life in Patients with Heart Disease

Oct 25, 2017

Tai chi shows promise for people with heart disease who decline traditional rehab programs.

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

CardioSmart Benefits

  • Sign up for personalized newsletters
  • Find fact sheets and helpful information
  • Get discussion guides for you and your doctor

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."