Angina: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Angina is the term used for chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. It’s a common symptom of coronary heart disease and ranges from mild discomfort to a feeling of extreme pressure or squeezing of the chest.

With angina, patients may also feel pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. They may also experience a feeling similar to indigestion.

If you or a loved has chest pain, seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have angina, and whether it is stable or unstable. If it’s unstable, you will need emergency care to prevent a heart attack.

The Chest Pain Center at SSM Health hospital is prepared to act quickly.. Located next to the emergency room at most of our hospital sites, the Chest Pain Center saves lives by reducing the time it takes to see a heart specialist. We don’t take chances, we take action - and if necessary, we will move you to a treatment unit where we can open the blockages, using the latest heart technology.

Causes of Angina

Angina is not a disease. It is a symptom of an underlying heart condition, typically coronary heart disease or CHD. There are different types of angina including:

  • Microvascular angina
  • Prinzmetal's angina
  • Stable angina
  • Unstable angina
  • Variant angina

Depending on your type, you may have mild discomfort or an acute situation. When the blood flow to your heart muscle decreases, the body experiences a supply problem. Angina can occur particularly during strenuous activity when your body demands more oxygen.

Signs & Symptoms of Angina

Our heart doctors encourage you to look out for the following signs and symptoms of angina, including:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain in the arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

It’s important for you to recognize any new or changing chest discomfort. These new or changing symptoms can signal a more dangerous form of angina or even a heart attack. Seek immediate care if your conditions dramatically worsen.

Treating Angina

Treatment options for angina can vary depending on the severity of your diagnosis. Some of these options may include lifestyle changes, medications, angioplasty and stenting, or coronary bypass surgery. All of these treatments aim to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms, lowering your risk of heart attack and other complications.

Begin your journey to wellness today. Speak with an SSM Health heart and vascular specialist to learn more about your condition. We’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan specific to your needs.

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