Anginal Pain

What Is Angina Pain?

Angina pain is a common symptom of heart disease. It’s a feeling of tightness, heaviness or pressure behind your breastbone. It can be caused by narrowed or blocked arteries surrounding your heart.

2 Types of Angina Pain

There are two types of angina pain: stable and unstable.

  • Stable: This type of pain occurs predictably during certain activities. It can be relieved with rest or medication.
  • Unstable: This type of pain is unpredictable and can occur at rest. It doesn’t respond to medication. It needs to be immediately treated to prevent further damage.

What Are the Symptoms of Angina Pain?

The symptoms of angina pain can vary depending on the type and severity of the pain. Common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulders or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating

How Is Angina Diagnosed?

Your doctor may use a physical exam, medical history, imaging tests and other diagnostic tests to diagnose angina.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test measures the electrical activity of your heart.
  • Stress test: This test measures your heart’s reaction to physical activity.
  • Echocardiography (echo): This test uses sound waves to create a picture of your heart.
  • CT scan: This test creates a 3D image of your heart.
  • Angiogram: This test uses dye and X-rays to show how well your coronary arteries are working.

Treatment for Angina

Treatment for angina depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medications, and medical procedures.

  • Lifestyle changes: These may include eating a balanced diet, exercising, quitting smoking, and losing weight.
  • Medications: These may include beta blockers, nitrates, or calcium channel blockers.
  • Medical procedures: These may include coronary angioplasty and stenting or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).