Blocked heart arteries are causing your chest pain (angina), keeping an area of your heart from getting enough oxygen. Your doctor says you need to treat the blockages to avoid a heart attack and other complications.
There are several options for treating angina, which might depend on the type of angina you have. How do you choose? Here’s information to help.
Types of angina
Angina is pain, discomfort or pressure in the chest. The most common types are chronic stable angina and unstable angina.
- Chronic stable angina. Chest pain occurs when your heart is working hard enough to need more oxygen, such as during exercise. The pain can go away when you rest. The pattern of pain — how long it lasts, how often it occurs, what triggers it, and how it responds to rest or treatment — remains stable for at least two months.
- Unstable angina. This is either new chest pain or a change in your usual pattern of chest pain, whether it’s worsening, lasting longer, or not being relieved by rest or medication.
Unstable angina is dangerous and a warning sign of a heart attack. If your angina is unstable, seek urgent medical care.
Other types of angina include variant or Prinzmetal angina — a rare type caused by a spasm in the coronary arteries — and microvascular angina, which can be a symptom of disease in the small coronary artery blood vessels.