is VERY serious and is NOT simply another name for any chest pain
. Specifically it indicates that the chest pain is believed to be from inadequate blood supply (oxygen supply) (aka "ischemia")getting to the heart muscle due to arterial sclerosis
(artery clogging). When this occurs the heart muscle does not contract normally and the heart contraction efficiency can decrease significantly, leading over time potentially to ischemic cardiomyopathy
While performing catheterizations (angiogram/angioplasty
) it takes six minutes of entirely blocking the coronary artery before the patient begins complaining of angina. Therefore chest pain can be a relatively late sign for cardiac ischemia (sometimes not at all). The goal at our particular cardiac center is for the patient to be chest pain free for nearly all activities. Of course there are patients where that is not possible...but in short, chest pain is not okay if something can be done to improve it - even if it hurts just a "little bit" or is just a "little full" or a "little tight." Don't let your friend tell you its nothing. Physical activity, exposure to cold, and emotional excitement are classic precipitants for angina.