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Is It An Angina Attack Or Heart Attack- What You Must Know

Written and reviewed by
Non Invasive Services
Cardiologist, Mohali  •  24 years experience
Is It An Angina Attack Or Heart Attack- What You Must Know

At the wee hours, when you experience a discomfort in your chest you tend to fear it is a heart attack. Though it may not necessarily be what you think, what you as a heart attack, it may actually be an angina attack.

Knowing the difference between a heart attack and an angina attack takes you a step further in dealing with either of the attacks.

Let’s get the basics right
Angina attack is a sign of coronary artery syndrome. Angina is characterized by pressure, squeezing tightness, heaviness, or pain in your chest. It can be a recurring ailment or an unexpected and acute health concern.

A heart attack is a condition which is a cause of concern. When parts of the heart do not receive oxygen-rich blood due to complete blockages of arteries, it results in a heart failure. It can prove to be fatal. The blockage of the arteries could be caused due to a blood clot or plaque formation.

The symptoms of angina and heart attack are similar. However, the two conditions are different from one another.

  1. Angina can be regarded as a beginning of a weak heart condition. An angina attack is a short-term non-fatal disease, whereas a heart attack is a fatal condition.
  2. Angina attack lasts for about ten minutes, while heart attack might last for more than twenty minutes.
  3. The damage caused by a heart attack cannot be reversed, and this condition also cannot be cured. It can just be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. As time passes, the condition may become worse. Angina attack can, however, be treated with drugs. Untreated angina can lead to a poor heart condition and ultimately a heart attack.

Signs and Symptoms in detail

Heart attack
Heart attacks can commence gradually and begin with only mild pain or distress. Signs can be moderate or severe and sudden. Traits also may come and go over long hours. Individuals who have diabetes may have no indications or very mild ones.

The most common symptom, in both men and women, is discomfort or chest pain. Women are likely to have nausea, shortness of breath, and vomiting along with other symptoms. They also experience chronic tiredness which can extend even for days sometimes along with pain in the shoulders, back, and jaw.

Angina attack
The chest pain and discomfort prevalent with angina may be expressed as pressure, compressing, fullness or pain in the core of your chest. Some people with angina symptoms relate angina as feeling like a clamp is clutching their chest or feeling like a huge weight has been put on their chest. For others, it may feel like heartburn or gastric pain.Angina is typically triggered by emotional stress, extreme cold, and physical exertion.

Both angina and heart attack can give you a chest pain as both of them are two demonstrations in the continuum of the similar disease, so knowing the difference between the two stands vital in diagnosing the correct condition and more importantly get the appropriate treatment. With timely treatment, either of the attacks can be survived.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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