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

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A common diabetes drug, metformin, failed to improve outcomes for non-diabetic patients after a heart attack.

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Women who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables during their 20s have healthier arteries later in life, finds study.

Secondhand Smoke Causes Permanent Damage to Children's Arteries

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Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood ages arteries later in life, study finds.

Losing Temper Increases Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

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Outbursts of anger may trigger heart attack or stroke within two hours, according to review of studies.

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While losing a spouse doubles 30-day risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study, the risk is still very low.

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

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

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Study finds that fitness early in life helps reduce heart attack risk during adulthood.

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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.

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Study findings suggest that daily multivitamins fail to prevent cognitive decline in older adults.

Exercise Reduces Risk of Cardiac Events in Heart Patients

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High-risk patients who add in about 20 minutes of walking each day can lower their risk for a cardiac event by 10%.

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Study suggests that energy drinks may be unsafe for children and individuals with existing heart conditions, like an irregular heartbeat.

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Study finds small differences in characteristics of chest pain by gender.
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Taking aspirin before bed helps prevent blood clotting and reduces cardiovascular risk in heart attack patients.

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Study finds that regular consumption of nuts could lower risk of death by as much as 20%.
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Study finds heart-health messages in “Sesame Street” promote healthier behavior in preschool children.

Registry Programs Improve Quality of Care and Outcomes

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

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