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Angina is a term used for chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease. Angina is typically described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest.
Symptoms associated with angina include:
Chest pain or discomfort
Pain in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back accompanying chest pain
Shortness of breath
The chest pain and discomfort common with angina may be described as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. Some people with angina symptoms describe angina as feeling like a vise is squeezing their chest or feeling like a heavy weight has been placed on their chest. For others, it may feel like indigestion.
The severity, duration and type of angina can vary. It's important to recognize if you have new or changing chest discomfort. New or different symptoms may signal a more dangerous form of angina (unstable angina) or a heart attack.
Stable angina is the most common form of angina, and it typically occurs with exertion and goes away with rest. If chest discomfort is a new symptom for you, it's important to see your doctor to find out what's causing your chest pain and to get proper treatment. If your stable angina gets worse or changes, seek medical attention immediately.
Characteristics of stable angina
Develops when your heart works harder, such as when you exercise or climb stairs
Can usually be predicted and the pain is usually similar to previous types of chest pain you've had
Lasts a short time, perhaps five minutes or less
Disappears sooner if you rest or use your angina medication
Characteristics of unstable angina
Occurs even at rest
Is a change in your usual pattern of angina
Is usually more severe and lasts longer than stable angina, maybe as long as 30 minutes
May not disappear with rest or use of angina medication
Might signal a heart attack