A discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing or painful feeling. Often, it can be mistaken for indigestion. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw or back.
- Stable angina: The pain is predictable and present only during exertion or extreme emotional distress, disappearing with rest.
- Unstable angina: This may signal an impending heart attack. The angina may occur more frequently, more easily at rest, feel more severe, last longer, or occur with minimal activity. Although this type of angina can often be relieved with oral medication (medicine taken by mouth), it is unstable and may progress to a heart attack.
- Prinzmetal’s angina: This type of angina is rare, representing about two out of 100 cases. It usually occurs in younger patients. The pain is caused by a spasm in the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle. This spasm can be the result of exposure to cold temperatures, stress, medicines that tighten or narrow blood vessels, smoking, or cocaine use. The pain or discomfort is usually severe and occurs while resting and during the night or early morning hours.