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

Sudden Death in College Athletes: Cause for Concern?

Feb 27, 2014
Ten-year study finds risk of sudden cardiac death among college athletes is actually lower than in the general population.

Improving America's Health through Active Transportation

Feb 26, 2014
Partners unite to promote active transportation across the country with new platform called “Safe Routes to Everywhere.”

Devices in Public Places Restart Hearts

Feb 21, 2014
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can help minimally trained bystanders save persons experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Safety Concerns About Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Feb 20, 2014
Experts are concerned about the safety of two weight loss pills recently approved for use in the United States.

CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes; Will Others Follow?

Feb 19, 2014
As CVS vows to eliminate cigarette and tobacco sales over the next year, experts hope other pharmacies will follow their lead to help reduce smoking rates nationwide.

Improving Medication Adherence in Heart Attack Patients

Feb 11, 2014
New support program helps patients adhere to a personalized treatment plan following a heart attack.

Improvements in Heart Patient Safety Among U.S. Hospitals

Feb 07, 2014
Study finds fewer complications among patients hospitalized for heart attack or heart failure between 2005 and 2011.

Fit Teens Have Lower Heart Attack Risk Later in Life

Jan 16, 2014
Study finds that fitness early in life helps reduce heart attack risk during adulthood.

Anti-Smoking Efforts Saved 8 Million Lives—and Counting

Jan 15, 2014
On the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health, study finds tobacco control efforts have increased life expectancy and saved millions of American lives.

Multivitamins Fail to Improve Memory in Older Men

Jan 10, 2014
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.
CardioSmart News

Taking Aspirin at Bedtime Decreases Heart Attack Risk

Nov 26, 2013
Taking aspirin before bed helps prevent blood clotting and reduces cardiovascular risk in heart attack patients.

Nut Consumption Linked to Longevity

Nov 26, 2013
Study finds that regular consumption of nuts could lower risk of death by as much as 20%.
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It's Easier to Lose Weight with Family and Friends, Study Finds

Nov 25, 2013
Weight loss interventions in social networks are more effective than standard care.
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Preschoolers Learn Heart-Healthy Lessons with 'Sesame Street'

Nov 25, 2013
Study finds heart-health messages in “Sesame Street” promote healthier behavior in preschool children.

Registry Programs Improve Quality of Care and Outcomes

Nov 18, 2013
Lessons learned from the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” program.

Sleep Apnea Hinders Recovery After Heart Attack

Nov 18, 2013
Study finds sleep-disordered breathing impairs healing after a heart attack.

Sudden Cardiac Death Rare in Women

Nov 13, 2013
Study finds that sports-related sudden cardiac death is much lower in women compared to men.

FDA Targets Trans Fat in Processed Foods

Nov 07, 2013
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."

Take Our "Thanks for Quitting" Challenge

Nov 01, 2013
CardioSmart's "Thanks for Quitting" Challenge is here to help you become smoke-free on or after the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 21.

Flu Shot Curbs Cardiovascular Risk

Oct 23, 2013
The seasonal flu shot is life-saving for patients at high risk for heart disease.

Is Surgery Safe for Stent Patients?

Oct 18, 2013
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

Oct 18, 2013
National program in Denmark increased CPR bystander rates and tripled survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest.

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