Angina is the medical term for chest pain resulting from insufficient blood flow to your heart. It is not technically a disease, but a symptom of heart disease, and is usually characterized by pain, pressure, squeezing, tightness, and heaviness in the chest.
Common Angina Symptoms
- Discomfort or pain in your chest
- Pain in your neck, jaw, arms, back, or shoulder, alongside chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
There are generally two types of angina, stable and unstable. Below are their distinct characteristics:
- Stable Angina – Typically occurs when your heart has to work much harder, like when climbing stairs or exercising. It’s usually predictable because it’s similar to previous chest pains (if you’ve had previous episodes) and only lasts for under five minutes. It subsides after taking angina medication and/or resting.
- Unstable Angina – First and foremost, take note that this is a medical emergency because it’s often an early indication of a heart attack. It occurs suddenly even if you’re resting, has more pronounced symptoms than stable angina, and could persist for more than 30 minutes. It also doesn’t go away with medication or rest.
According to a cardiology expert in Payson, the type, duration, and severity of angina could differ. He adds that it’s extremely crucial to identify if you have changing or new chest pain because different or new symptoms might indicate a more life-threatening angina type, stable angina, or worse, a heart attack.
When to Ask for Help
If your angina attack persists for more than a few minutes and won’t disappear with angina medication and rest, chances are, you’re having or are about to have a heart attack. Call for help right away. While waiting for help to arrive, if you have aspirin in your home and you’re not allergic to it, take a dose and try to stay awake. The aspirin will aid in preventing blood clot formation and lowering your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.