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What is Angina? North Ohio Heart Explains

June 21, 2013

Angina is a medical term that you may have heard of but are not quite sure what it means. Angina is not a disease in and of itself but most often it is a symptom of coronary heart disease.

blue xray with orange heartAccording to the National Institutes of Health, "Angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) is chest pain or discomfort that occurs if an area of your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood." This discomfort could come in the form of feeling pressure or squeezing in the chest. Some people feel this pain in their shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. Still others may experience something that seems like indigestion. The NIH cautions that simply having chest pain or feeling of indigestion is not a clear indication that what a person is feeling is angina or that the person has coronary heart disease. If you are feeling chest pain, it is important to go see a doctor so you can get a diagnosis.

The pain or discomfort of angina occurs because there is plaque buildup in the arteries. When the arteries have plaque buildup they become stiff and it is more difficult for blood to travel through these arteries to reach the heart, causing pain. This same plaque buildup can also make it easier for blood clots to form and if these blood clots block blood flow, a person can have a heart attack.

If you are diagnosed with angina, you can turn to us for your help with heart health. North Ohio Heart is among the top five cardiology practices in the Great Lakes Region, with over 30 cardiologists working from seven locations, and privileges at over a dozen area hospitals and regional medical centers.

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