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Complete Guide on Angina (Chest Pain) – Symptoms, Risk Factors, and First Aid at Home


It’s a myth that angina (chest pain) is a disease. Angina is not an illness. It is a symptom of a common heart condition – coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD). There are several forms of angina:

  • Stable
  • Unstable
  • Microvascular
  • Angina resulting from a coronary artery spasm

What is Angina? 

Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle. Your heart muscle needs the oxygen carried by the blood. It could feel like a huge weight is resting on your chest. Angina might be a new type of discomfort or persistent pain you might experience. Nonetheless, it requires medical attention because angina only resolves with treatment.

If you are experiencing pain like angina then immediately take your prescribed medication. If the person around you has medications for angina, assist the person in taking the medications. Monitor the person’s vital signs. If necessary, initiate CPR. You can learn CPR from American HealthCare Academy’s high-quality online CPR certification course. Our courses are free and you pay only when you download the certificate. We are the finest choice for online certifications because of our up-to-date course materials, OSHA-certified teachers, and user-friendly courses. Our online CPR training is very effective. How long does CPR certification last? It lasts for 2 years and you can renew it as it reaches its expiry.

This article is a complete guide on angina (chest pain) in which we will discuss its symptoms, the risks involved, and what kind of first aid can be given to the patient. 

Angina: Symptoms and Causes & Treatment

Angina is quite prevalent. It can still be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain, such as the discomfort of indigestion. Seek medical attention right away if you are experiencing inexplicable chest pain. 

Symptoms of angina

The common symptoms of angina are:

  • Squeezing of the chest
  • Heavy pressure on the chest
  • Heaviness inside the chest
  • Tightness of chest muscles
  • Inexplicable pain or discomfort in your chest, which may be tight, dull, or heavy.
  • Chest pain may also occur with:
    • breathlessness (some people can have this without any chest pain)
    • feeling nauseous
    • feeling unusually tired
    • dizziness
    • Restlessness

Men and women may experience different angina symptoms. Women may experience discomfort in their neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, back or chest pain. This pain goes unnoticed as a heart disease symptom. As a result, women’s treatment gets delayed.

Causes & treatment of angina

The narrowing of the arteries doesn’t happen overnight. It develops over many years. Most typically at the age of 20-30 years. Arteries become narrow as a result of lifestyle choices and activity levels. Keep reading to know what are the types of anginas (chest pain) one can experience.

There are two types of anginas described below with their causes:

  1. Stable angina 

Stable angina attacks occur when the heart is pushed to work harder. For example, physical exertion or mental stress. There can be two triggers for it:

  • after eating a meal
  • during chilly weather.

Resting for a few minutes usually gives relief from the symptoms of stable angina.

  1. Unstable angina 

Unstable angina is more erratic. It can emerge without any evident triggers. It sustains even when you’re resting. An attack of unstable angina may continue longer than a few minutes. It doesn’t always respond to the line of treatment used for stable angina. People experiencing these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention or dial 911.

What are the risk factors involved with angina patients?

The following are risk factors:

  • Hypertension
  • Foods that are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • A lack of physical activity
  • Consumption of tobacco – either in the form of chewable or smoking
  • Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2
  • Ancestral history
  • Advanced age
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Stress

First Aid for Angina at Home

This section covers angina first aid options. If you or another person around you suffers from angina and has been prescribed nitroglycerin:

  1. Dissolve 1 nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue or use nitroglycerin spray under the tongue
  2. Wait for five minutes.
  3. If the person still has angina, call 911.

If you or another person around you has been diagnosed with chronic stable angina: 

  1. Dissolve 1 nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue or use nitroglycerin spray under the tongue.
  2. Repeat every 5 minutes until the individual has consumed three tablets in 15 minutes.
  3. Call 911 if the person still has angina after three doses.


It may be an indication you or your loved one is experiencing a heart attack when:

  • the chest pain or discomfort lasts more than a few minutes.
  • it doesn’t go away even after resting and relaxing.
  • there is no relief after taking your angina meds. 

In any of the above 3 situations, call 911 or seek immediate medical assistance. Drive yourself to the hospital only if there is no other transit option. Stay prepared to handle any cardiac emergency by taking online CPR training from American HealthCare Academy today!