Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease, or heart disease. For most people, it feels like chest pain or pressure. Some people feel other symptoms. These symptoms include pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
The most common types of angina are stable angina and unstable angina.
Most people who have stable angina can manage their symptoms. This includes taking medicines as prescribed and knowing when to call your doctor or nurse call line or get help right away. It also includes paying attention to your symptoms so you can see what causes them and what is typical for you.
Tracking when and why your angina symptoms happen is one way to understand your angina better. It also helps you know what's normal for you.
If you know what's normal for you, it'll be easier to tell if you have a change in symptoms that means it's time to call for help.
Understanding your normal patterns may also help you make some changes that might prevent or reduce symptoms.
To track your symptoms, write down:
You and your doctor can use your symptoms tracking information to talk about whether you need any changes to your angina treatment. For example, you may decide to use medicine or to change your medicine. Or you may talk about other treatments you could try. Most people who have stable angina can control their symptoms by taking prescribed medicines, including nitroglycerin, when needed.
Staying active and knowing when to rest during activity are also important.
Here are some tips that might help you manage your angina.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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 call line 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.
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Current as of: July 19, 2016
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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