What is Angina?
Angina is a form of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow going to the heart, and is a symptom of coronary artery disease. It is a relatively common condition, but it can still be hard to diagnose.
Those who have Angina often describe it as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness feeling, or pain in the chest. It can either be a new pain that needs diagnosing by a Cardiologist, or it could be a recurring pain that was previously treated.
Other causes of chest pain need to be excluded. These include:
- Acid Reflux
- Muscular pains
Symptoms of Angina
There are various symptoms suggestive of Angina including:
What are the characteristics of Angina?
Characteristics of stable Angina
- When your heart starts to work harder due to activities such as doing exercise or when you climb stairs
- It can usually be predicted, and the pain can be similar to a type of chest pain you may have had previously
- Tends to last for five minutes or less and disappears if you rest or take any angina medication you may have
Characteristics of unstable Angina
- Even if you’re resting it can still occur
- There is a change in your usual pattern of angina
- Is more severe than usual and lasts potentially for up to 30 minutes
- Angina medication doesn’t always work
- Might signal a heart attack
Angina in women and non-causacians
The symptoms for women with angina can be different to the characteristics you get with classic angina symptoms, some of which include:
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Neck, jaw or back pain
- A stabbing chest pain rather than pressure in the chest
Risk factors with Angina
There are various factors that increase your risk of coronary artery disease and angina including:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- A family history of heart disease
- Older age – men over 45 and women over 55 are at greater risk
- Lack of exercise
- Stress and lifestyle
It is important to see a doctor when your chest pain lasts for more than a few minutes and doesn’t go away when you rest or take any angina medication. It might be a sign of a heart attack.