Angina (Chest Pain)

Nearly seven million Americans suffer from angina or chest pain, which is equally common among men and women.

Angina is pain or discomfort in the chest area that can occur when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen and it often can be a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD). Angina can feel like squeezing or pressure in the chest area, but it also can create pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back or even mimic stomach indigestion.

CAD can develop when plaque builds up on the inner walls of coronary arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart. This waxy plaque material can narrow and stiffen the coronary arteries, reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and cause the chest pain known as angina.

Angina or chest pain can be treated in a variety of ways from medication and lifestyle management to medical treatment and cardiac rehabilitation. The main treatment goals for angina are to reduce the pain and discomfort and the frequency of attacks. Your doctor will also be focused on preventing or reducing your risk for heart attack by treating any underlying heart condition.

If your symptoms are mild and stabilized, lifestyle changes and medicines may be the only treatments you need. In all cases of angina, the pain may indicate a more serious cardiac issue and you should consult a physician. To find a physician or cardiologist call 1.877.GO MERCY or visit Find A Doctor.