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

Can Air Pollution Trigger a Heart Attack?

Can Air Pollution Trigger a Heart Attack?

Mar 08, 2012
Air pollution may be behind more heart attacks than we think.
Women Less Likely to Have Chest Pain During Heart Attack

Women Less Likely to Have Chest Pain During Heart Attack

Feb 28, 2012
Atypical heart attack symptoms that every woman should know.
Heart Attack Treatment in Hispanics

Heart Attack Treatment in Hispanics

Feb 22, 2012
Disparities in heart attack treatment highlight need for quality improvement.
Inflammation and Heart Failure Risk

Inflammation and Heart Failure Risk

Jan 10, 2012
Study shows inflammation may increase risk for heart failure in men.
Heart Attack Prevention Therapies May be Beneficial for Young Men and Women

Heart Attack Prevention Therapies May be Beneficial for Young Men and Women

Dec 13, 2011

Younger, healthier set found to be at high risk.

Heart Attack in Women without Heart Disease

Heart Attack in Women without Heart Disease

Oct 20, 2011
Study explores the causes heart attacks in otherwise healthy women.

Gender Differences in Angina Symptoms

Sep 27, 2011

Angina symptoms every women should know.

How Vitamin D and Parathyroid Hormone Levels Affect Cardiovascular Risk

How Vitamin D and Parathyroid Hormone Levels Affect Cardiovascular Risk

Sep 20, 2011

These health markers could increase risk for heart disease.

Faster Door-to-Balloon Time Improves Heart Attack Outcomes

Faster Door-to-Balloon Time Improves Heart Attack Outcomes

Aug 22, 2011

U.S. hospitals providing faster emergency care for heart attack patients.

Discontinuation of Aspirin and Heart Attack Risk

Discontinuation of Aspirin and Heart Attack Risk

Aug 08, 2011

Discontinuing aspirin use can increase heart attack risk by 2/3 in patients who have had a heart attack or stroke.

Marital Status and Seeking Care During Heart Attack

Marital Status and Seeking Care During Heart Attack

Jul 28, 2011

Married men half as likely to delay seeking care after a heart attack than single men.

Overweight and Obesity Slows Downward Trend of Heart Attack Incidence

Overweight and Obesity Slows Downward Trend of Heart Attack Incidence

Jun 17, 2011

UK decreased heart attack risk by 74% over last 20 years.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Patients with Stents

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Patients with Stents

Jun 01, 2011

Fish oil reduces heart attack risk in stent patients.

Could Calling 9-1-1 at First Signs of Heart Attack Improve Medical Care?

Could Calling 9-1-1 at First Signs of Heart Attack Improve Medical Care?

Apr 14, 2011

Ambulances with echocardiograms provide immediate care.

Physical and Sexual Activity Triggering Acute Cardiac Events

Physical and Sexual Activity Triggering Acute Cardiac Events

Mar 30, 2011

Exercise more likely to trigger heart attack in sedentary patients.

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