Someone with angina can experience some of the following symptoms:
• Chest pain or discomfort (tightness in the middle of the chest or a feeling of heavy weight on the chest)
• Neck pain, arm pain, pain in the jaw or pain between the shoulder blades
• A feeling of choking
• Feeling out of breath
These symptoms usually occur when the heart is having to work harder and requiring more blood, typically during physical activity or exertion. However, angina can be triggered by other factors such as: stress, excitement, anger, cold weather or after eating a large meal.
Symptoms of the three main types of angina (stable angina, unstable angina and variant angina) can be triggered by different factors.Stable Angina
This is the most common type of angina whereby pain is triggered by exertion when the heart is having to work harder. Stable angina has a regular pattern (hence its name) and the level of activity that triggers pain is predictable.
Pain can last anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes and is relieved by medication however it will often occur again if activity is resumed. Should the pattern of the angina alter then you should visit your doctor so treatment can be adjusted. Unstable Angina
Unlike stable angina, unstable angina has no pattern and any pain can be triggered by little physical effort such as walking or when resting. Symptoms of pain are more frequent, more severe and can last much longer than stable angina. Medication typically has little effect on the symptoms. Unstable angina can follow stable angina but it may be the first type that is experienced.Variant Angina
This is the least common type of angina and typically affects women. Sometimes called 'Prinzmetals angina', the condition triggers pain without warning and usually while resting or sleeping.
Anybody experiencing the following symptoms should seek medical help:
- Awoken in the night by angina symptoms
- Severe symptoms of angina (more than normal)
- Frequently suffering symptoms (more than is normal)
- Symptoms lasting longer than normal