5 Signs of Angina You Don’t Want to Ignore

Angina, the formal term for chest pain, isn’t something to brush off as indigestion or an ulcer. Though it can feel similar to other types of chest pain, angina is a product of reduced blood flow to your heart muscle. The heart thrives on oxygen-rich blood, so when that supply is severely blocked, the chest sends pain signals to let you know that something is wrong. It can occur suddenly, without warning, or continue as a chronic issue.

Angina is commonly recognized as a symptom of coronary artery disease because the lack of blood flow that causes angina is a product of coronary arteries that have been narrowed, even blocked. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately so any underlying factors can be recognized and appropriately treated. Since angina symptoms can be easily confused with other health issues, here are the five symptoms that you definitely do not want to ignore.

1. Significant chest pain and discomfort. Each person describes this discomfort slightly differently, but be on the lookout for pressure, like a feeling of your chest being squeezed or sat on by a sumo wrestler.

2. Chest pain that dissipates after you rest, lasts less than five minutes, and can be predicted based on previous pain. This blend of symptoms indicates stable angina, which is the easiest to handle. If you’re going to have chest pain, stable angina is the better option because it is predictable, trackable, and its symptoms are far easier to manage. With that said, this is still a symptom of underlying heart disease and should not be taken lightly!

3. Chest pain occurs even when you’re resting; the pattern is unpredictable, and the pain can last up to 30 minutes. This type of angina, unstable angina, is considered a medical emergency because it could signal an impending heart attack.

4. In females only, nausea, shortness of breath, stomach pain, extreme fatigue, and even pain in the neck, back, or jaw. Some women with angina don’t even feel the pressured chest pain that men do. This is due to the different arteries in which men and women experience blockages. Men tend to have blockage in the larger coronary arteries, while some women develop heart disease in the small arteries that branch out from the coronary arteries.

5. You are overweight, a smoker, diabetic, or have high cholesterol or blood pressure. These risk factors increase your likelihood of developing angina and should encourage you to pay closer attention to any unusual signs your body sends you.

With the right preventative care, angina can provide a vitally important message that you need medical care and lifestyle changes in order to avoid coronary artery disease. A blend of medical measures and healthier daily choices can help limit and alleviate your angina. In certain extreme cases, surgery may be required to repair blocked arteries. Since only your doctor can ensure you are treated correctly, it’s critical to call your medical professional as soon as you feel any symptoms that indicate angina.