Angina, or angina pectoris, is the discomfort or pain that occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is decreased due to the narrowing of a coronary artery. People describe angina as discomfort, pressure, or pain in the chest, back, neck, shoulders, arms (especially the left arm), or jaw. These symptoms most often happen with increased activity or emotional stress.

Angina is a sign that the heart muscle isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. It doesn’t cause permanent damage to the heart, but it can be a warning of a heart attack. So even though some people experience angina for many years without ever having a heart attack, angina pain should be taken seriously.

Prevention

Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help you keep your cholesterol and blood pressure down, keep your arteries clear, and prevent angina.

  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat sources of protein such as nuts and fish
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight and keep diabetes under control
  • Quit smoking
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