Angina is simply a symptom, not a disease. If an individual has angina, any of the following are the usual indications:

  • Uncomfortable fullness, pressure, squeezing or pain in the middle of the chest
  • Burning, tightness or heavy weight in the chest
  • Pain radiates to the neck, shoulders or arms
  • Discomfort is in the upper abdomen, jaw or back
  • Pain can range from mild to severe

The other symptoms that might take place with an angina attack include the following:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating or cold, clammy skin
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid or erratic heartbeat
  • Feeling of impending doom

Types of angina


In case an individual had angina before, he/she might not seek medical care if the symptoms are the same as before.

Stable angina

This is the most common type that causes symptoms on a regular basis. The episodes often occur in a pattern and predictable.

In most cases, the symptoms manifest after brief episodes of exertion and usually last less than 5 minutes. It is alleviated by rest or medications such as sublingual nitroglycerin.

Unstable angina

This type of angina is uncommon with unpredictable symptoms and often occur at rest. This can indicate the deteriorating of stable angina, but some already have one that is currently unstable.

The indications are worse in which the pain is frequent, severe and lasts longer, occurs at rest and not relieved by nitroglycerin. Remember that it is not the same as a heart attack but requires immediate care in the nearest emergency department. Hospitalization is required to prevent a heart attack.

When to seek medical care

If an individual has not experienced any of these symptoms before, a doctor should be consulted especially if uncertain about the symptoms or suitable action to take.

  • Do not delay in getting in touch with emergency services.
  • The emergency personnel are trained in recognizing angina and provide appropriate treatment.

In case an individual had angina before, he/she might not seek medical care if the symptoms are the same as before. If instructions are given by the doctor, the individual should follow them such as:

  • Getting enough rest
  • Eliminating any stressors
  • Sublingual nitroglycerin

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on angina is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the symptoms of circulatory conditions including angina, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.