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Angina Pectoris (cont.)

Angina Pectoris Symptoms

Angina itself is a symptom (or set of symptoms), not a disease. Any of the following may signal angina:

  • An uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest
  • It may also feel like tightness, burning, or a heavy weight.
  • The pain may spread to the shoulders, neck, or arms.
  • It may be located in the upper abdomen, back, or jaw.
  • The pain may be of any intensity from mild to severe.

Other symptoms may occur with an angina attack, as follows:

These symptoms are identical to the signs of an impending heart attack described by the American Heart Association. It is not always easy to tell the difference between angina and a heart attack, except angina only lasts a few minutes and heart attack pain does not go away.

  • If you have never had symptoms like this before, sit down. If you are able, call your healthcare provider, call 911, or go to the closest hospital emergency department.
  • If you have had angina attacks before and this attack is similar to those, rest for a few minutes. Take your sublingual nitroglycerin. Your angina should be totally relieved in five minutes. If not, you may repeat the nitroglycerin dose and wait another five minutes. A third dose may be tried but if you still have no relief, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015

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