What is chest pain?
Commonly mistaken for a heart attack, angina pectoris is a Latin phrase that means “strangling in the chest.” Patients describe angina as a squeezing, suffocating, or burning feeling in their chest. Fortunately, the heart muscle is not damaged forever like in a heart attack, and the pain usually subsides with rest. However, angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease.
Angina pectoris is a Latin phrase that means “strangling in the chest.” Patients describe angina as a squeezing, suffocating, or burning feeling in their chest, but an episode of angina is not a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, the heart muscle is not damaged forever, and the pain usually goes away with rest.
The pain traditionally starts in the center of the chest and then radiates to your left arm, neck, back, throat, or jaw. You may have numbness or a loss of feeling in your arms, shoulders, or wrists. Luckily, the episodes are brief, but if the pain lasts longer than a few minutes, you should seek immediate medical attention. Once you seek help, doctors can easily diagnose the cause of your angina by discussing your symptoms with you and running a few tests such as x-rays, exercise electrocardiography (ECG or EKG), a nuclear stress test, coronary angiography, and blood tests to check the levels of certain proteins in your blood.