What are the symptoms of angina?
As mentioned above, angina causes temporary pain or an uncomfortable feeling in the chest. In stable angina, the pain is predictable and usually occurs at the same level of exercise or activity each time. Angina is described as unstable when it occurs with increasing frequency and severity. Unstable angina can occur at any time, often during exercise but also at rest. The pain caused by unstable angina is more prolonged than in stable angina and is not quickly relieved by nitrates (see “What treatment is available?”). This condition can deteriorate rapidly. Variant angina is a rare form of angina caused by a coronary artery spasm. It is unpredictable and can occur at rest. Microvascular angina may be a a symptom of coronary microvascular disease (MVD). Chest pain can last greater than 30 minutes and may be more severe than other types of angina pain. Chest pain can also be caused by anxiety and tension but is a different kind of pain than that experienced in angina. Your doctor will be able to determine what is causing your chest pain.

Usually, angina subsides with rest but you may be prescribed a spray or tablet containing nitroglycerin  to ease the pain. If the pain does not settle within 5  minutes, you should take another tablet or more sprays. The dose can be repeated a third time if the pain persists for a total of three doses in 15 minutes. If the pain still does not settle, then you should seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms of a heart attack are usually stronger than those of angina. The pain is more severe and does not go away, and may be accompanied by sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, and severe anxiety. Do not hesitate to seek help right away if you think you may be having a heart attack.

What tests confirm a diagnosis of angina?
Your doctor may order tests to see if you have any other heart problems and to determine the cause of the angina. You may undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG) in which two or more electrodes will be placed on your skin (one on your chest). The electrodes will then be connected to an electrocardiograph, which will produce a tracing of the electrical activity of your heart. This will help the doctors to identify the problem. As angina is often triggered by exercise, an ECG may be carried out while you are exercising. High cholesterol is a risk factor for angina and can increase atherosclerosis. A blood test will show if your cholesterol levels are high. A procedure called coronary angiography may be carried out if other procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery surgery are being considered. Your doctor will explain these procedures to you if necessary.