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Symptoms and Signs of What Is Angina (Ischemic Chest Pain)?

Doctor's Notes on What Is Angina (Ischemic Chest Pain)?

Angina (also termed angina pectoris) is a term for the temporary chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart doesn’t get quite enough blood and doesn’t function at full capacity. Angina is a symptom itself. The signs and symptoms of angina are temporary pain (lasting a few seconds to a few minutes) or pressure, feeling of fullness and/or squeezing in the center the chest or in other areas such as the neck, shoulder, jaw, upper arms or upper back.

Angina is usually caused when the person physically exerts themselves, experienced strong emotions or stress, experience extreme temperature changes or even when they eat a meal. Almost anything that increases the demand on the heart can trigger or cause angina.

However, not all chest pain or pressure and other symptoms of angina indicate the person has angina – if they are first-time occurrence or if symptoms of angina last more than a few minutes, they may be helpful warning signs to seek emergency medical help to avoid or treat a heart attack.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.