Angina is chest pain or discomfort you get when your heart muscle does not get enough blood. It may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. It may feel like indigestion. You may also feel pain in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common heart disease. CAD happens when a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, reducing blood flow. There are three types of angina: stable, unstable and variant. Unstable angina is the most dangerous. It does not follow a pattern and can happen without physical exertion. It does not go away with rest or medicine. It is a sign that you could have a heart attack soon. Not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. If you have chest pain, you should see your health care provider.
[SOURCE: NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/ http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/angina.html ]
Key Point 1
Angina is a sign that the heart needs more oxygen than it’s getting. It is often described as pressure, tightness, heaviness, or pain in the chest. While Angina is common, it is important to determine what is causing it, and to rule out other conditions.
Key Point 2
The goal of treatment of Angina is to maximize function by helping the heart get the oxygen it needs. A patient needs to learn their angina pattern so that any new symptoms can be evaluated right away and worked up to make sure treatment remains effective.
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There are a very large number of organizations and websites dedicated to Angina. This is only a partial list.
The American Heart Association: Our mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI): The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides global leadership for a research, training, and education program to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.