Angina happens when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle. Angina is a sign of coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease happens when fatty deposits called plaque (say "plak") build up inside your coronary arteries. This plaque may limit the amount of blood to your heart muscle. Having coronary artery disease also increases your risk of a heart attack.
Chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of angina. But some people have other symptoms, like:
- Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Light-headedness or sudden weakness.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat.
Most women feel symptoms in their chest. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other angina symptoms like shortness of breath, tiredness, nausea, and back or jaw pain.
Angina can be dangerous. That's why it is important to pay attention to your symptoms. Know what is typical for you, learn how to control your symptoms, and understand when you need to get treatment.
A change in your usual pattern of symptoms is an emergency. It may mean that you are having a heart attack.
The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter H129 in the search box to learn more about "Angina: Care Instructions".