Attacks of angina are sudden and unexpected in many cases. In some chronic patients, they may be predicted according to the effort they exerted. We should remember that angina is a supply mismatch of the heart, and when the attack hits, it could mean one of two things: either you have over-exerted the heart, or that the blood supply to the heart has deteriorated rapidly.
If you are experiencing an angina attack for the first time, you may not know that it is angina in the first place. Chest pain causes are quite diverse, and what many patients consider a heart attack may turn up to be just a mild musculoskeletal pain. There are, however, some clues that may indicate a higher probability of an angina attack:
- Angina attacks are squeezing, pressure-like or choking rather than an actual stabbing pain. It occurs after a strenuous exercise or an emotional upset and relieved by rest.
- The discomfort is felt in the chest, left shoulder, arm or jaw.
- It may be associated with profuse sweating and breathlessness.
Angina attacks are distressing and can induce panic attacks in which the patient feels an impending sense of doom. They last for minutes, usually 1-10 minutes and rarely more. So, knowing what to do is essential for all patients who suffer from coronary artery disease:
Panic attacks can aggravate symptoms and worsen the condition, so when the attack starts, you should remain quiet and breathe slowly.