ZocdocAnswersWhat does angina feel like?

Question

What does angina feel like?

Both my parents suffer from angina. I think this increases my risk. How do I know if I'm suffering from the same condition?

Answer

If you are worried that something you might be experiencing could be angina, then you should definitely schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a cardiologist. Angina is the term we use to describe the discomfort that occurs when the heart does not get enough blood flow to meet its needs. This is usually caused by atherosclerosis (blockages) in the arteries that serve the heart (known as the coronary arteries. Angina typically is described as a left sided chest tightness or pressure that can be severe. Often people describe the feeling of something heavy being placed on their chest. In women (typically older women) or diabetics this feeling can be replaced with a more vague feeling of stomach upset, nausea, or abdominal pain. We don't call that angina, but recognize that in some people these feelings represent the same causes of angina. People that have coronary artery disease that also complain of angina usually state that it occurs more during exertion more than at rest. This is because the heart needs more blood flow during exercise than it does at rest. Please schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a cardiologist. Coronary artery disease needs treated by a professional because it can lead to a heart attack down the road if not treated properly. In addition, coronary artery disease runs in families so if both your parents have it, then you will be at higher risk.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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