Angina Facts

Angina pectoris is recurring chest pain or discomfort that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen. Learn More ›

Symptoms: Recognizing a Heart Attack or Angina

If you have risk factors for heart problems, you should always be on the lookout for signs of angina or a heart attack. If you have a sudden heart problem, getting treatment right away could save your life.

  • Angina is a painful or uncomfortable feeling in or near your chest. It signals a lowered amount of blood flow to the heart. Angina is a sign that you are at increased risk for having a heart attack.

  • A heart attack signals loss of blood flow to the heart. Part of the heart muscle then dies. Though many people survive, a heart attack can be deadly. It is vital to get help as soon as possible for a heart attack.

Learn more about Heart Attacks

Treatment: Fast-Acting Nitroglycerin

Nitroglycerin relieves angina (chest pain) by getting more blood and oxygen to your heart. Fast-acting nitroglycerin stops an angina attack. Follow the steps below for taking fast-acting nitroglycerin.

If you use tablets:

  • Sit down.

  • Place one tablet under your tongue. Or place it between your lip and gum or between your cheek and gum.

  • Let the tablet dissolve all the way. Do not swallow or chew the tablet.

  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew tobacco as the tablet is dissolving.

  • Use one tablet every 5 minutes up to a maximum of 3 tablets in 10 minutes.

If you use spray:

  • Sit down. Open your mouth and hold the sprayer just in front of your mouth.

  • Press the button on the top. Spray once under your tongue or inside your cheek. Do not inhale.

  • Close your mouth. Then wait a few seconds before you swallow.

Learn more about treating Angina

Living with: Making Your Lifestyle Heart-Healthy

The millions of Americans diagnosed with heart and cardiovascular diseases can benefit from making healthy choices in their day-to-day lives.

Eating a nutritious diet is a proven way to reduce the risk for heart disease.

These are the elements of a heart-healthy diet (amounts listed are for adults):

  • Eat 2 cups fresh fruits and 2-1/2 to 3 cups vegetables every day.

  • Limit saturated and trans fats by using olive oil or other vegetable oils instead of butter or margarine. Remember also to limit the total fat intake to less than 30 percent of your daily calories.

  • Eat more chicken and fish and less red meat.

  • Eat 6 to 8 ounces of grains, of which at least half should be from whole-grain bread and cereal.

  • Limit or eliminate fast foods, which are often loaded with salt, sugar and fats.

  • If you drink alcohol, do so moderately. That means no more than two drinks a day if you're a man, one if you're a woman.

  • Limit your salt/sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. In January 2010, the American Heart Association reduced its previous sodium intake recommendations and identified 1,500 mg of sodium per day as the target intake for all Americans.

  • Get the equivalent of 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or dairy products every day.

Learn more about living with Angina

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Although people have sworn by garlic's medicinal benefits, new research puts to rest the notion that the herb can reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. A large clinical trial published in a 2007 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found no evidence that garlic worked to lower cholesterol. The study looked at both fresh garlic and garlic supplements.