What Does Angina Feel Like?


Angina symptoms can include chest pain, a squeezing feeling in the chest, tiredness, vertigo and shortness of breath, according to Mayo Clinic. However, specific feelings of chest discomfort can vary. For instance, certain individuals may experience a weighted feeling on their chests, while others may feel fullness or tightness.

Additional symptoms of angina can include pain in the neck, shoulders and arms, according to the American Heart Association. An angina attack may also feel similar to indigestion. Angina is not a condition but a symptom of underlying heart conditions such as coronary heart disease or coronary microvascular disease, a condition that affects the small arteries of the heart and is more common in women.

Factors that can lead to coronary heart disease and trigger angina attacks include cigarette smoking, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes, according to National Institutes of Health. Coronary heart disease can lead to damaged arteries, leaving them more vulnerable to plaque buildup that can cause angina attacks. Stress, extreme temperature fluctuations and consumption of heavy meals can also trigger attacks.

The four types of angina are stable angina, unstable angina, variant angina and microvascular angina, explains National Institutes of Health. Stable angina is triggered by narrowed arteries due to plaque buildup. Unstable angina is triggered by blood clots, and variant angina occurs when the coronary arteries spasm, leading to tightening of the arterial walls. Microvascular angina occurs in individuals with microvascular disease.