Angina is chest pain or discomfort that results from a lack of blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle. A narrowed or blocked artery due to coronary artery disease is the most common cause of angina. When blood cannot reach the heart tissue, especially during physical activity, chest discomfort may occur that can last up to several minutes. Angina may be treated with rest, medication, cardiac rehabilitation, and surgery.
Angina causes chest discomfort that typically lasts from about one to five minutes. The discomfort usually feels like pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, burning, or pain. This may occur in the chest, back, neck, jaws, arms, stomach area, and shoulders. Your shoulders, arms, or wrists may feel numb or tingle. It may be difficult to breathe. You may sweat or feel nauseous.
Contact your doctor if you experience angina. People with angina have an increased risk for a heart attack, cardiac arrest, and sudden cardiac death. An ambulance should be called immediately if a heart attack is suspected. Symptoms of a heart attack include new, worsening, or persistent pain or pressure in the center of the chest, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and pain that radiates from the chest into the teeth, jaws, shoulders, or arms. A heart attack can be fatal. Immediate emergency medical care is necessary to sustain life and prevent complications.