Angina — also called ischemic chest pain — is often described as a squeezing, pressure, or burning in the chest. It results from a lack of blood flow to the heart.
Angina may be a major sign of heart disease or indicate that you’re at risk for a heart attack. Take charge of your health and Find a Doctor at Dignity Health to learn about preventing and treating angina in Arizona.
Try our quick HeartAware Assessment to determine your risks.
Angina causes symptoms of pain, squeezing, fullness, or pressure in your chest, which may also be felt in the shoulders, neck, and jaw. It can also feel like heartburn. Angina during or after periods of physical activity or other stress on the body is called stable angina. It usually goes away when you rest. Unexpected chest pain while you are at rest is called unstable angina.
Our hospitals are Accredited Chest Pain Centers designated by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, meaning we provide a high level of expertise when you come to us with angina or heart attack symptoms.
When to Seek Emergency Care for Angina
Unstable angina is a medical emergency. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or any trouble breathing
- Cold sweats
- Severe or sudden fatigue
These symptoms may warn of a heart attack. Call 9-1-1 immediately. Dignity Health emergency rooms are located throughout Arizona, so you’re covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What Causes Angina?
Coronary artery disease (a)lso called CAD, coronary heart disease, or simply, heart disease is the most common cause of angina. CAD is the result of fatty buildup within the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries and makes it difficult for fresh, oxygen-rich blood to flow easily to the heart. The interruption in blood flow puts a strain on the heart muscle, and increases your risk of heart attack and heart failure.
Your doctor at Dignity Health will determine the location and timing of your chest pain. This helps distinguish stable from unstable angina.
A combination of tests help further diagnose angina and identify the underlying cause:
- EKG (electrocardiogram) shows your heart’s electrical activity, heart rate, and rhythm.
- Stress tests monitor your heart while you walk or run on a treadmill.
- Blood tests show substances in the blood that can indicate heart disease or damage.
- Coronary angiography can find artery blockages using dye injections and X-rays.
- Heart imaging is done using chest X-ray or CT scan. Your doctor can also see your lungs with these imaging tests.
Treating Angina with Care at Dignity Health
Our expert cardiologists relieve the pain of angina by treating its source — usually heart disease. Heart disease treatments include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Coronary angioplasty
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
Dignity Health has advanced care for heart conditions
, such as angina, in Arizona.