Angina is a type of chest pain that occurs when there is not enough blood flow to the heart muscle. This is often a result of the narrowing of blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle. The narrowing is usually caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease.
The pain of angina pain is often described as:
- Tightness or squeezing in the chest
- Heaviness or weight on the chest
- Chest pain from angina can spread (radiate)
- Down the left arm (most common site)
- To the left shoulder
- To the back
- To the neck or lower jaw
- Down the right arm
The pain of angina occurs during activities that make the heart work harder, such as:
- Any physical activity (climbing stairs, having sex, etc.)
- Eating a large meal
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to cold
Other symptoms of angina include shortness of breath, nausea, and a cold, sweaty feeling. Angina is often relieved by rest and medication.