I’ve often heard someone say that they had “angina” but have never really been clear on exactly what they meant. One friend in particular would shrug her shoulders when suffering from an angina attack and say, “Oh, it’s only angina.”
Because of her assertion that her chest pain was “only angina,” I’ve operated under the false presumption that angina is not a serious condition and that you really don’t need to worry about it too much. Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth.
What is Angina?
Angina is sometimes called angina pectoris, which is simply Latin for pain in the chest. Chest pain is not a normal state! Anytime you are experiencing chest pain, it should serve as a signal that something is wrong. While angina in and of itself is not a disease, it is your body's way of raising a flag and alerting you to the fact that there is a serious underlying problem and that you may have coronary artery disease.
What are the Symptoms of Angina?
The symptoms of angina are very similar to those of a heart or anxiety attack. Those suffering from angina will generally experience chest pain which is caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart. As with a heart attack, persons suffering from an angina attack often report feeling like someone is standing on their chest. The pain has also been described as a heaviness, tightness or squeezing type of pain in the chest area. In addition, you may also experience fatigue, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, sweating, or shortness of breath.
As with other heart related events, the symptoms of angina vary slightly for women. We are more apt to experience nausea, shortness of breath or even abdominal pain than a man. In addition, our chest pain may be more “stabbing, pulsating or sharp” as opposed to heaviness, tightness or pressure.
What are the Types of Angina?
While there are several types of angina, the two most common types are stable and unstable angina.
• Stable Angina. While this of angina may be triggered by stress, it is most often associated with some type of exertion or exercise.