Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs if an area of your heart muscle does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. It is a common symptom of ischemic heart disease, which limits or cuts off blood flow to the heart.
There are several types of angina, and the signs and symptoms depend on which type you have. Angina chest pain, called an angina event, can happen when your heart is working hard. It can go away when you stop to rest again, or it can happen at rest. This pain can feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. It also can spread to your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back, just like a heart attack. Angina pain can even feel like an upset stomach. Symptoms can be different for women and men.
Angina can be a warning sign that you are at increased risk for a heart attack. If you have chest pain that does not go away, call 9-1-1 immediately.
To diagnose angina, your doctor will ask you about your signs and symptoms and may run blood tests, take an X-ray, or order tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), an exercise stress test, or cardiac catheterization, to determine how well your heart is working. With some types of angina, you may need emergency medical treatment to try to prevent a heart attack. To control your condition, your doctor may recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes, medicines, medical procedures, and cardiac rehabilitation.
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