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Angina pectoris occurs when the heart muscle (myocardium) does not receive an adequate amount of blood needed for a given level of work (insufficient blood supply is called ischemia).
The following are the most common symptoms of angina.
However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Symptoms may include:
A pressing, squeezing, or crushing pain, usually in the chest under the breast bone
Pain radiating in the arms, shoulders, jaw, neck, and/or back
The chest pain associated with angina usually begins with physical exertion. Other triggers include emotional stress, extreme cold and heat, heavy meals, excessive alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking.
Angina chest pain is usually relieved within a few minutes by resting or by taking prescribed cardiac medications.
The symptoms of angina pectoris may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for more information.
Angina pectoris and heart attack risk
An episode of angina does not indicate that a heart attack is occurring, or that a heart attack is about to occur. Angina does indicate, however, that coronary heart disease is present and that some part of the heart is not receiving an adequate blood supply. Persons with angina have an increased risk of heart attack.
A person who has angina should note the patterns of his/her symptoms - what causes the chest pain, what it feels like, how long episodes usually last, and whether medication relieves the pain. Call for medical assistance if the angina episode symptoms change sharply.
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