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

More Obese Patients Needing Angioplasty than Ever Before

Aug 13, 2013
Younger, morbidly obese patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention are also at greater risk for complications, study finds.

Medication Adherence Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Aug 12, 2013
Taking heart medications properly greatly reduces risk for complications and death, study finds.

Caloric Intake of Obese Children is Underestimated

Aug 12, 2013
Study uses model to show obese children consume significantly more calories each day than healthy children.

Study Highlights Need For More AEDs

Aug 09, 2013
Availability of life-saving devices must be widespread in public places.

Echocardiograms Unnecessary for the General Population

Jul 30, 2013
Study finds that a useful heart test has negligible benefit for healthy patients without a family history of heart disease.

Small Restaurants Have Calorie-Packed Items, Too

Jul 30, 2013
Meals from non-chain or small-chain restaurants typically have higher calorie content than their fast-food peers.

Sodium Levels Remain High in Popular Foods

Jul 30, 2013
Study finds little progress in reducing sodium levels of common processed and restaurant foods since 2005.

Noisy Airports May Impact Heart Health of Nearby Residents

Jul 23, 2013
Study shows noise from planes may disrupt sleep, worsening cardiovascular health.

Experts Recognize Obesity as a Disease

Jul 22, 2013
The American Medical Association joins health organizations in acknowledging obesity as a disease, deserving of proper treatment and prevention.

A Stark Reminder of Americans' Widespread Heart Disease Risk

Jul 15, 2013
Beloved actor James Gandolfini’s early death is a wake-up call to the millions of Americans at risk for heart disease.

Perception of Stress Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Jun 27, 2013

Study shows that people who believe stress negatively impacts their health are at increased risk for heart attack.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Directly Linked to Risk for Sudden Cardiac Death

Jun 11, 2013
A common sleep disorder may significantly increase risk of sudden cardiac death.

Inflammation Associated With Cardiac Syndrome X

Jun 10, 2013
Study shows inflammation may play important role in patients with unexplained chest pain.

Secondhand Smoke Increases Heart Disease Risk, Study Shows

Jun 10, 2013
Exposure to secondhand smoke promotes build-up of calcium deposits in the arteries.

Common Painkillers Increase Heart Risks

Jun 07, 2013

Study finds that taking high doses of NSAIDs for prolonged periods of time increases risk for heart attack and stroke.

Vegetarians May Live Longer Than Meat Eaters

Jun 05, 2013
New research confirms that vegetarian dietary patterns can extend longevity.

Mediterranean Diet Could Prevent Memory Loss

Jun 05, 2013
In addition to being heart-healthy, the Mediterranean diet may also help protect our minds.

Novel Ads Encourage Smokers to Ask Their Doctors About Quitting

Jun 05, 2013
A new national campaign aiming to curb smoking rates features real stories from former smokers.

Magnets in iPad 2 May Interfere with Heart Devices

May 28, 2013
A study conducted by a 14-year-old student finds that the iPad 2 interferes with implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Poor Diet Negatively Impacts Sleep Patterns in Middle-School Children

May 23, 2013
Among children, a link found between diet and sleep may be the key to promoting better heart health as adults.

Smokeless Tobacco Trends in Adolescents

May 16, 2013
Smokeless tobacco use remains unchanged between 2000 and 2011 among middle and high school students.

Pets May Boost Heart Health

May 15, 2013
After a comprehensive review of existing research, experts acknowledge an association between pet ownership and reduced cardiovascular risk.

Fiber Reduces Stroke Risk

May 08, 2013
Study shows increasing dietary fiber intake could drastically reduce risk for stroke.

Heart Patients Slow to Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

May 08, 2013
Despite benefits, many heart patients fail to adopt healthy lifestyle changes following diagnosis.

Physically Demanding Jobs Increase Heart Disease Risk

May 07, 2013
Manual labor may increase risk for heart attack and stroke.

Get CardioSmart

You're Invited

Questions about a drug?