Dr. Harp said angina is caused by the heart muscle not getting enough blood flow and, therefore, not getting enough oxygen. This causes discomfort, much like cutting off the blood supply to one's finger causes discomfort.
He said angina is a symptom of an underlying heart problem. It's usually a symptom of coronary heart disease but can also be a symptom of coronary microvascular disease.
The major risk factors for CHD and coronary MVD include unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, insulin resistance, obesity, metabolic syndrome and lack of physical activity or an unhealthy diet.
Dr. Harp pain and discomfort are the main symptoms of angina. It's often described as pressure, squeezing, burning or tightness in the chest, usually starting behind the breastbone. Pain from angina can also occur in the back, arms, shoulders, neck, jaw or throat. He said all chest pain should be checked by a doctor.
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