Heart Disease Home > Angina Attack Symptoms
A person's angina symptoms will vary in several ways, such as when they occur, how long they last, and how severe they are. Symptoms of a stable angina attack generally occur after physical exertion, and tend to last 5 minutes or less. Unstable angina symptoms strike unexpectedly (usually during sleep), and may last up to 30 minutes. Stable and variant angina symptoms can be treated with medicine, but unstable symptoms cannot.
People with angina symptoms usually feel discomfort (often a pressure-like pain) in or around the chest, shoulders, jaw, neck, back, or arms. It may feel like a squeezing, pressing sensation in the chest. This pain usually lasts 2 to 5 minutes. Angina symptoms are usually caused and made worse by exercise and eased by rest.
Other angina attack symptoms can include:
- Indigestion or heartburn-like sensation
- Shortness of breath
Angina symptoms can vary somewhat based on the type of angina (stable, unstable, or variant). With stable angina symptoms:
- They occur when the heart must work harder
- They usually occur during physical exertion
- The episodes of pain tend to be alike
- The pain usually lasts a short time (5 minutes or less).
On the other hand, unstable angina symptoms often occur unexpectedly at rest, while sleeping at night, or with little physical exertion. The pain is generally more severe and lasts longer (as long as 30 minutes) than with episodes of stable angina.
The difference between unstable and variant angina symptoms is that in variant angina, the symptoms can usually be relieved with medicine, whereas unstable angina symptoms cannot.