Angina is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. It is a symptom of coronary artery disease and is typically described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest.
Angina can be a recurring problem or a sudden, acute health concern. It is relatively common but can be difficult to differentiate from other types of chest pain, such as the pain or discomfort of indigestion. If you have undetermined chest pain, seek medical attention right away.
Angina is also known by other names, such as
- Acute coronary syndrome
- Angina pectoris
- Chest pain
- Coronary artery spasms
- Microvascular angina
- Prinzmetal's angina
- Stable or common angina
- Unstable angina
- Variant angina
There are different types of angina
Stable angina is the most common kind which can be triggered by physical activity or stress. It usually lasts a few minutes and subsides when you rest. It isn't a heart attack, but it's a sign that you're more likely to have one in the future. Tell your doctor if this happens to you.
Unstable angina happens while you're at rest or not very active. The pain can be strong and long-lasting, and can be recurring. It can be a signal that you're about to have a heart attack, so call a doctor right away if you are suffering it.
Prinzmetal's angina (also called variant angina) is rare. It might happen at night during sleep or while at rest. The heart arteries suddenly tighten or narrow. It can cause a lot of pain, and you should get it treated.
If your chest pain lasts longer than a few minutes and doesn't go away when you rest or take your angina medications, it may be a sign you're having a heart attack. Call emergency medical help. Arrange for transportation. Only drive yourself to the hospital as a last resort.
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