If you’ve ever experienced chest pain or chest discomfort, you may have had angina pectoris (or "angina" for short), a medical term for the symptoms caused by the heart not getting enough oxygen through the arteries that supply the heart with blood. When these arteries become narrowed or blocked over time, it is called coronary artery disease (CAD), which is usually the cause of angina.
Angina can be classified as the following:
- Stable – Stable angina predictably produces symptoms at a certain level of exertion for the individual and usually goes away with rest or by taking nitroglycerin. An example is that your chest hurts after you climb two flights of stairs and is relieved with five to 10 minutes of rest. Stable angina is not usually an emergency, but it can be painful and frightening and should prompt further medical investigation.
- Unstable – When angina becomes unstable, it is often the precursor to a heart attack, which is a medical emergency. It is a change in your pattern of angina, or when you have your first episode of angina. It usually comes on suddenly with more severe pain or discomfort and may come on even when you’re resting.
Stories of Hope and Recovery
Jack showed symptoms of angina, chest pain that occurs when arteries to the heart are blocked and the heart is starved for oxygen, and with the help of his interventional cardiologist, underwent angioplasty and stenting.