To better understand angina, you need to understand what it is -- and what it isn’t. Firstly, angina isn’t heart disease. Rather, it’s a symptom that serves as a red flag to more serious underlying heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, also known as CAD or heart disease, coronary microvascular disease, or MVD.
CAD occurs when plaque builds up in arteries causing them to narrow and reduce and in some instances block the amount of normal blood flow. This narrowing or blockage may lead to blood clots, heart attack, and even death. Unlike CAD, MVD affects only small coronary arteries, is more common in women than men and does not cause narrowing or blockage.
Approximately seven million people in the United States alone have angina. These numbers aren’t really surprising given the fact that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.