Angina

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

JoAnne M. Foody, 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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Study finds that fitness early in life helps reduce heart attack risk during adulthood.

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Multivitamins Fail to Improve Memory in Older Men

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Study findings suggest that daily multivitamins fail to prevent cognitive decline in older adults.

Exercise Reduces Risk of Cardiac Events in Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2014
High-risk patients who add in about 20 minutes of walking each day can lower their risk for a cardiac event by 10%.

Energy Drinks Increase the Heart's Contraction Rate

Dec 09, 2013
Study suggests that energy drinks may be unsafe for children and individuals with existing heart conditions, like an irregular heartbeat.

Does Chest Pain Differ Among Men and Women During a Heart Attack?

Dec 05, 2013
Study finds small differences in characteristics of chest pain by gender.
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Study finds that regular consumption of nuts could lower risk of death by as much as 20%.
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Lessons learned from the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” program.

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Study finds sleep-disordered breathing impairs healing after a heart attack.

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Study finds that sports-related sudden cardiac death is much lower in women compared to men.

FDA Targets Trans Fat in Processed Foods

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The FDA has issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils—the major dietary source of trans fat in processed food—are no longer "generally recognized as safe."

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CardioSmart's "Thanks for Quitting" Challenge is here to help you become smoke-free on or after the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 21.

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Study suggests that patients with stents should wait six months to undergo elective surgery to reduce risk of complications.

Widespread CPR Education Improves Survival Rates

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National program in Denmark increased CPR bystander rates and tripled survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest.

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Trial compares quality of life in diabetic patients undergoing revascularization procedures CABG and PCI.

Chronic Chest Pain Interferes with Work Ability

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Study finds chest pain causes many patients to file for disability, regardless of a heart disease diagnosis.

Few ICD Patients Utilize New Safety Feature

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Study finds less than half of patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are using remote patient monitoring.

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Despite its protective effects, many patients undergoing angioplasty don’t receive aspirin.

Popular Estrogen Therapy May Increase Cardiovascular Risk

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Study finds that the most-prescribed estrogen therapy may increase risk for blood clots and heart attack compared to other medications.

A Healthy Heart in Your Golden Years

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CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief JoAnne Foody writes about a few key steps that we should all take to boost heart health.

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Elite cyclists live longer and have lower risk of death compared to average adults.

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