What is Angina?

What is angina? Angina is the medical term used for chest pain caused by the heart. It can often feel like a squeezing, burning, or tightness in the chest. The pain usually starts behind the breastbone and may feel like indigestion. The pain can also occur in the shoulder, neck, jaw or back. If you are experiencing this and it is not going away, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

Angina occurs when the heart's oxygen demand is greater than the heart's oxygen supply. It is the sign of an underlying problem, which is usually coronary heart disease.

There are four major types of angina: stable, unstable, variant and microvascular. Understanding each type is crucial because they have different angina symptoms, and each responds differently to treatment. Yet, it's also important to know that not all chest pain is angina. Other conditions can cause chest pain along with serious complications.

Dr. Holly Atkinson

This video features Dr. Holly Atkinson. Dr. Holly Atkinson specializes in Internal Medicine and is an award-winning medical journalist. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine as well as Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Duration: 03:59.
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh, Dr. Holly Atkinson . Review date: March 10, 2012
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