It may be a classic heart-attack symptom, but pressure or discomfort or tightness in your chest doesn’t always accompany a heart attack. For some people, particularly women, pain in other places may be their main symptoms. For others, chest discomfort comes and goes—the result of a condition called angina, which
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Chest pain is most closely associated with a heart attack, but other conditions can also produce this symptom. Angina is another type of chest pain. It isn?t the same as a heart attack, although it could be a sign that one is imminent.
Angina signals a problem with your heart. The pain you feel is because arteries that normally supply blood to the heart are blocked, which prevents your heart from getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Several different types of angina exist, and each can produce different symptoms.
The main angina symptoms are pain and pressure in your chest. That pain might feel sharp or dull. It can seem like a heavy weight has been placed on your chest, or that your heart is being squeezed. Sometimes, angina pain can mimic the burning feeling of indigestion. You might also notice pain in your arms, neck, back, shoulders, or jaw. Other angina symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, sweating, and fatigue.
Because angina symptoms are so similar to those of a heart attack, it?s important to be alert if you are having chest pain?especially if that pain is new for you. Angina comes in two forms?stable and unstable?and one is more serious than the other. Stable angina will typically start when you?ve been active, for example after you?ve climbed a flight of stairs. It usually lasts for a few minutes, but should go away when you rest.
Unstable angina is more serious. The pain is usually more intense, and will last longer?up to 30 minutes. Unstable angina pain does not go away when you rest.
If you have any new chest pain, or pain that does not go away, get medical attention. Angina can lead to a heart attack, which needs immediate treatment to prevent serious heart damage.
What causes coronary artery disease (CAD) is a process called atherosclerosis. Symptoms develop when cholesterol, fats, and other substances such as white blood cells collect in the walls of the blood vessels that keep the heart supplied with blood—the coronary arteries. Cholesterol and other materials form plaques. Unfortunately, atherosclerosis symptoms
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By Orli R. Etingin, MD, Editor-in-Chief
Many of my patients ask how best to protect themselves against heart disease and whether they should see cardiac specialists.
It’s important to understand that heart disease is different in women than in men, with women less likely to experience the classic chest pain/angina symptoms. This