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Treating & Preventing Angina (Chest Pain)


If you experience chest pain — a tight, squeezing sensation or pressure in your chest — you might think it’s a heart attack. Known as angina, in many cases it’s actually a warning sign of heart disease

Angina pectoris is a symptom, not a disease. Chest pain occurs when your heart doesn’t get enough freshly oxygenated blood, usually due plaque buildup in the coronary artery. The condition often results from an underlying heart condition such as coronary artery disease. 

Dignity Health’s cardiology unit offers diagnostic testing and treatment for angina in the Bay Area. To find the cause of chest pain, Find a Doctor and make an appointment today. You can also take our online risk assessment to learn more about your heart health.

Preventing Angina

You may be able to prevent chest pain by taking a few steps to address underlying heart disease. It’s a good idea to:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Seek treatment for heart conditions you already have, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Manage your blood sugar levels if you have type 2 diabetes.
  • Avoid overeating at mealtime, which is known to trigger angina.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as meditation and breathing techniques.

Treating Angina at Dignity Health

Angina treatment focuses on diagnosing and addressing underlying heart disease. If you ever experience chest pain, it’s essential to see a doctor.

Dignity Health cardiologists will create a personalized treatment plan that addresses your physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Your doctor may recommend angina treatments including medications, lifestyle changes, or medical procedures, including:

  • Medications such as nitroglycerin, which relaxes your blood vessels and promotes blood flow to the heart 
  • Medications to treat high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
  • Lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, adopting a heart-healthy diet, and exercising under the supervision of your cardiologist
  • Cardiac rehabilitation programs, where a medical professional helps you to maintain your diet and exercise plan
  • Medical procedures that open blocked coronary arteries

Keep in mind, angina treatments vary depending on the severity of your heart disease, the frequency and severity of your angina episodes, and your overall health. If your angina is mild and infrequent, you may only need to adjust your exercise and diet. But if your chest pain is moderate to severe and occurs frequently, your doctor may discuss other options. 

Cardiologists at Dignity Health are committed to finding the cause behind your angina and will target care to your specific needs. Our priority is your well-being. 

Dignity Health provides expert angina treatment in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.