Angina (Chest Pain)
Angina (Chest Pain)

Angina (Chest Pain) Symptoms


Symptoms vary based on the type of angina you have and on whether you are a man or a woman. Angina symptoms can differ in severity, location in the body, timing, and how much relief you may feel with rest or medicines

Common symptoms

Pain and discomfort are the main symptoms of angina. Angina is often described as pressure, squeezing, burning, indigestion, or tightness in the chest. The pain or discomfort usually starts behind the breastbone. Some people say that angina pain is hard to describe or that they cannot tell exactly where the pain is coming from.

Other symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Nausea, or feeling sick in the stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Symptoms of angina can be different for women and men. Instead of chest pain, or in addition to it, women may feel pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or back. Sometimes this pain is not recognized as a symptom of a heart condition. As a result, treatment for women can be delayed.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between symptoms of angina and of heart attack. Call 9-1-1 if you feel chest discomfort that does not go away with rest or medicine. Angina can also lead to a heart attack and other complications that can be life-threatening.

Other symptoms by type of angina

Each type of angina has certain typical symptoms. Learn more about the symptoms that are characteristic of each type.

Stable angina

  • Discomfort that feels like gas or indigestion
  • Pain during physical exertion or mental stress
  • Pain that spreads from your breastbone to your arms or back
  • Pain that is relieved by medicines
  • Pattern of symptoms that has not changed in the last 2 months
  • Symptoms that go away within 5 minutes

Unstable angina

  • Changes in your stable angina symptoms
  • Pain that grows worse
  • Pain that is not relieved by rest or medicines
  • Pain that lasts longer than 20 minutes or goes away and then comes back
  • Pain while you are resting or sleeping
  • Severe pain
  • Shortness of breath

Microvascular angina

  • Pain after physical or emotional stress
  • Pain that is not immediately relieved by medicines
  • Pain that lasts a long time
  • Pain that you feel while doing regular daily activities
  • Severe pain
  • Shortness of breath

Variant angina

  • Cold sweats
  • Fainting
  • Numbness or weakness of the left shoulder and upper arm
  • Pain that is relieved by medicines
  • Pain that occurs during rest or while sleeping
  • Pain that starts in the early morning hours
  • Severe pain
  • Vague pain with a feeling of pressure in the lower chest, perhaps spreading to the neck, jaw, or left shoulder
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