What are the symptoms of angina?

Angina develops when plaque builds up in arteries in the heart, which slows blood flow and deprives the heart of oxygen-rich blood. Angina often feels like pressure, pain or tightness in the chest and may be accompanied by shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea and dizziness.
Symptoms of angina include discomfort, pain, or tightness in the chest, arm, shoulder, back, neck, or jaw caused by a temporary lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. Angina usually occurs when the heart's oxygen demands increase, such as during exercise, stress, or emotional upset.

The main symptom of angina is chest pain or pressure. Symptoms may also include pain in the arms or back, shortness of breath, and nausea. Symptoms vary slightly depending on the type of angina that occurs. Stable angina is chest pain or pressure that occurs in a regular pattern and is related to exercise or stress. The pain often goes away once the physical activity stops. In people who have a pattern of stable angina, pain that varies from the pattern is unstable angina. Unstable angina pain often continues for a longer time than that of stable angina, and you cannot get it to go away simply resting or taking angina medication. Variant angina symptoms are sudden and occur when you are at rest. They may be more severe than other types of angina.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Dr. Oz talk about the signs and symptoms of angina, including where on the body one might experience pain, in this informative video.

Suhail Q. Allaqaband, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Symptoms of angina (the pain or discomfort that results when the heart muscle does not receive the blood and oxygen it needs) may include:
  • chest feels tight or heavy
  • feel short of breath (or hard to breathe)
  • pressure, squeezing or burning in chest
  • discomfort may spread to arm, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • numbness or tingling in shoulders, arms, or wrists
  • sick to the stomach
Symptoms of angina include pressure, tightness or a squeezing pain in your chest. You may also feel pain in your jaw, neck, shoulders, arms or back. Women are more likely than men to feel the pain in the arms or back or simply to be short of breath. Usually, angina occurs during physical activity or stress, and goes away with rest.

Continue Learning about Angina

Angina Pectoris (Chest Pain)
Angina Pectoris (Chest Pain)
What is angina pectoris? Angina is temporary pain or discomfort in the chest that occurs when not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches your heart musc...
Read More
How common is angina?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Angina is fairly common. About 350,000 people are diagnosed with angina each year in the United Stat...
More Answers
What is a silent angina attack?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
A special problem happens when coronary heart disease is present but does not cause any chest discom...
More Answers
What Is Stable Angina?
What Is Stable Angina?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.