Heart Disease Home > What Is Unstable Angina?

Unstable angina is a potentially dangerous condition. What is it, specifically? Chest pain or discomfort is the primary symptom of unstable angina. People with symptoms of an angina attack 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. Unstable angina can occur without physical exertion and is not relieved by rest or medicine.
The symptoms are often a sign that a heart attack could occur soon. In fact, 10 to 20 percent of people with the condition have a heart attack. Unlike stable angina, unstable angina does not follow regular patterns, which can make it difficult to pinpoint. It occurs more often in older adults and requires emergency treatment.
(Click Unstable Angina to learn more, including information on emergency treatment for unstable angina.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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