Angina pectoris, a specific type of chest pain, is caused by reduced blood supply to the heart. It is also considered a symptom of coronary artery disease.

Common adjectives to describe angina pain include squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness, and pain in the chest. Some people may also feel as if there is a substantial weight on their chest. Angina can cause either a new episode of chest pain that has to be checked out by a doctor or a recurrent pain that gets better with treatment.

Coronary artery disease can lead to angina and heart attacks. However, angina doesn’t harm your heart permanently. A heart attack does. That’s because angina indicates that your heart’s blood flow has temporarily decreased. A heart attack results in a more prolonged decrease in blood flow. Your heart muscle starts to deteriorate throughout that period.

The discomfort of indigestion, for example, can be difficult to distinguish from angina, despite the fact that it is a rather common type of chest pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience inexplicable chest pain.


Angina manifests in various forms, which are determined by the underlying cause and whether symptoms are relieved by rest or medication.

  • Stable angina. The most typical type of angina is stable angina. Exertion usually triggers it, and it normally subsides with rest or angina medicine. Angina, for instance, may cause pain while you’re walking uphill or in chilly weather.

Discomfort from stable angina is predictable and frequently comparable to chest discomfort from earlier bouts. The average duration of the chest pain is five minutes or less.

  • Unstable angina. Unpredictable and occurring while at rest, unstable angina. Or the angina pain is getting worse and happens with less exertion. It usually lasts for at least 20 minutes and is more severe than stable angina. Neither relaxation nor the typical angina drugs relieve the agony. If the blood flow doesn’t get better, the heart becomes oxygen-starved and suffers a heart attack. An urgent medical response is necessary for unstable angina.
  • Prinzmetal angina. Prinzmetal angina, another name for variant angina, doesn’t result from coronary artery disease. It is brought on by a spasm in the arteries of the heart, which momentarily lowers blood flow. The primary symptom of variant angina is severe chest discomfort. It usually happens in cycles, usually while you’re sleeping or at rest. Medication for angina may be able to reduce the pain.
  • Refractory angina. Despite a mix of drugs and lifestyle modifications, angina attacks are frequent.


Pain and discomfort in the chest are angina symptoms. The discomfort or pain in the chest could feel like it’s full, squeezing, burning or pressurized.

The arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, or back may all experience pain.

Additional symptoms of angina include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty of breathing

Angina can vary in severity, duration, and type. If new or different symptoms arise, it might indicate unstable angina, which is a more dangerous form of angina and could lead to a heart attack. If you experience any new or worsening angina symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. A doctor can diagnose and differentiate between stable and unstable angina to provide appropriate treatment.

Women’s angina

Women’s angina symptoms can differ from typical angina symptoms. Delays in getting treatment could be caused by these distinctions. For instance, although chest discomfort is frequently experienced by women with angina, it may not be the sole symptom or the one that affects them the most. Women may also experience symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Pain in the back, neck, jaw, or teeth
  • Abdominal pain
  • A stabbing ache as opposed to chest pressure

It may be an indication of a heart attack if your chest discomfort persists for more than a few minutes and doesn’t go away after you rest or take your angina treatments. Contact emergency medical services. If there is no other way to get there, only drive yourself to the hospital.

It’s crucial to consult your doctor if chest discomfort is a new symptom for you in order to identify the cause and receive the right treatments. If you have stable angina and it worsens or changes, you should visit a doctor very away.


Reduced blood supply to the heart muscle is what causes angina. The oxygen that the heart muscle requires to survive is carried by blood. Ischemia is the medical term for the disorder that results from the heart muscle not receiving enough oxygen.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most frequent reason why the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished. The fatty buildups known as plaques can cause the heart’s arteries (coronary) to constrict. Atherosclerosis is the term for this.

A blood clot or plaque rupture in a blood vessel can abruptly restrict or obstruct blood flow through a constricted artery. Blood flow to the heart muscle may suddenly and significantly drop as a result.

The heart muscle may be able to function on the lower amount of blood flow when there is little oxygen demand, such as while one is at rest, without experiencing angina symptoms. Angina, however, can happen when the need for oxygen increases, as it does during exercise.

Risk factors

The risk of angina may be raised by the following factors:

  • History of heart disease in the family. If your mother, father, or any of your siblings have ever suffered from heart disease or a heart attack, let your doctor know.
  • Old age. Individuals aged 60 and above are especially vulnerable to angina.
  • Tobacco use. The lining of the arteries can be harmed by smoking, chewing tobacco, and prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, which makes it possible for cholesterol deposits to build up and obstruct blood flow.
  • High blood pressure. By promoting artery hardening over time, high blood pressure harms arteries.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes raises the risk of coronary artery disease which causes angina and heart attacks, by accelerating atherosclerosis and raising cholesterol levels.
  • High cholesterol or triglycerides. Atherosclerosis can be brought on by having too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood. Angina and heart attacks are more likely in people with high LDL levels. Triglyceride levels that are too high in the blood are likewise unhealthy.
  • Inactive lifestyle. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are all consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. The kind and volume of exercise that is appropriate for you should be discussed with your healthcare physician.
  • Being overweight or obese. Angina can be brought on by heart disease, which is at risk due to obesity. The heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body when a person is overweight.
  • Cold temperatures. Cold exposure has the potential to cause Prinzmetal angina.
  • Emotional stress. Blood pressure can be increased by excessive stress and anger. Stress-related hormone surges can cause artery narrowing and exacerbate angina.
  • Medications. Prinzmetal’s angina may be brought on by blood vessel-tightening medications, such as some migraine medications.
  • Drug abuse. Angina can be brought on by cocaine and other stimulants that cause blood vessel spasms.
  • Other health problems. The risk of angina is increased by chronic renal disease, peripheral artery disease, metabolic syndrome, and a history of stroke.