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:
- Shortness of breath
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Sweating or cold, sweaty skin
- Rapid or irregular heart beat
- Pallor (pale skin)
- Feeling of impending doom
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 5/23/2014
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