This symptom of coronary heart disease is often described as pressure, tightness, heaviness, and pain in your chest.

Angina — also called angina pectoris — is a term used to describe chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart due to a narrowing or blockage of one or more coronary arteries.

As a symptom of coronary artery disease, angina can be a recurring problem or can come on suddenly.

Although angina is common, it can be difficult to determine if you are experiencing angina or another form of chest pain, such as indigestion.

Angina Symptoms

Because there are many different types of angina, triggers and symptoms can vary depending on which type you have.

Angina is typically described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness, and pain in your chest. It's typically worse with exertion, and is relieved with rest.

The discomfort can also occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

Symptoms of angina in women may vary from those in men, with women often experiencing the following with or without chest pain:

  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Discomfort in the neck, jaw, or back
  • Stabbing pain, rather than chest pressure

Angina Risk Factors

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that being at risk for heart disease, or for coronary microvascular disease, also means you're at risk for angina.

The following are common risk factors for these conditions:

  • High cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Being sedentary
  • Not eating a healthy diet
  • Having a family history of early heart disease

Getting older is also a risk factor. The AHA reports that your risk increases if you're a male older than 45, or a female older than 55.

Angina Treatment

Treatment for angina aims to reduce your symptoms, as well as lower your risk for heart attack and death.

Treatment options include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as quit smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding stress, and controlling diabetes
  • Medicines such as nitrates, aspirin, clot-preventing drugs, beta-blockers, statins, and calcium-channel blockers
  • Cardiac procedures such as angioplasty, stenting, and coronary bypass surgery
  • Cardiac rehabilitation after a cardiac procedure to help you increase your physical fitness, reduce cardiac symptoms, improve your overall health, and reduce your risk for heart problems in the future


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