Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What are the symptoms of angina?

        Health | Heart

Symptoms of Angina Angina symptoms can include any of the following:

  • chest pain or tightness
  • heaviness, burning, or squeezing in the chest
  • pain or pressure in arms, neck, or jaw
  • numbness in shoulders, arms, or wrists
  • breathlessness
  • nausea
  • indigestion

Angina symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack. But they are usually less severe, and they usually don't last as long. People with angina often describe it as pressure or tightness in the chest. Others describe it as a feeling of heaviness, burning, squeezing, or pain. These feelings usually occur behind the breastbone. Sometimes pain or pressure can spread to the arms, neck, or jaw. In some cases, angina can cause numbness in your shoulders, arms, or wrists. The symptoms typically last from 5 to 15 minutes. But if you have symptoms like these, don't wait. Call for immediate medical help. Your doctor may have given you other instructions for what to do when you have chest pain, such as to place a medicine called nitroglycerin under your tongue. Follow these instructions exactly. Call for immediate medical assistance if the medicine does not work right away.

Women sometimes feel angina differently than men do. If you are a woman, your pain may be less intense. But the pain sometimes lasts longer than a man's angina pain does. Seek medical help immediately if you experience chest pain. Do not wait to see how long it will last or whether it will go away on its own!

In both men and women, pain may also occur in locations other than the chest. For instance, it could occur in your shoulder, jaw, or back. You might also feel nausea and breathlessness. Or your angina could feel like indigestion.