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Health Tip: Angina Is Chest Pain

It could be a sign of current or pending heart attack

(HealthDay News) -- Angina occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood. Angina may feel like pain or discomfort in the chest, including pressure, tightness, indigestion or heartburn.

Pain from angina may also be felt in the neck, shoulders, jaw, back and arms. Since angina often is a symptom of coronary artery disease or heart attack, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that you see your doctor any time you have angina.

There are three types of angina: stable, unstable and variant. Stable angina is most common, occurs regularly during physical exertion in a consistent and recognizable pattern, and typically goes away after a few minutes.

Unstable angina can occur without physical exertion, and does not typically occur in any pattern. Unstable angina usually requires emergency medical treatment, as it is often an indicator of a present or future heart attack. Variant angina, a rare condition, may involve severe pain that often occurs during the night, but can be treated by medication.

Chest pain may not always mean angina or heart attack -- it could be a symptom of lung infection, heartburn, blood clot, or even anxiety. Any time you have significant chest pain, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause.

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