Angina is a common symptom of heart disease

Angina pectoris (angina) is chest pain commonly related to coronary heart disease. You may have this symptom if there is not enough blood flowing to your heart muscle. This may happen when plaque builds up in the arteries, causing blockages and narrowing (ischemia).

The “pain” may feel like fullness, pressure, squeezing, or heaviness, and in women may feel more like nausea, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, or extreme fatigue.

Emotional, physical stress can trigger stable angina

The two main forms of angina are stable angina and unstable angina. With stable angina, the most common form of this symptom, there is a regular pattern of pain with exertion, such as physical activity, and the pain comes and goes quickly, generally within five minutes. Stable angina may also be triggered by emotional stress as well as by extreme temperatures. With unstable angina, the pain occurs even with rest, and often signals that a heart attack is coming.

There is also variant, or Prinzmetal’s angina, a much more rare form caused by spasming in the coronary artery. Microvascular angina, also less common, may last for longer periods of time and the pain is not always relieved by medication.

If you have coronary heart disease, be sure to discuss your symptoms with your doctor, who may prescribe a combination of rest and medication to relieve your angina.

If you are having chest pain that does not go away with rest and medication, call 911 immediately.

To schedule an appointment with a Lankenau Heart Institute specialist, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.