Angina vs. Heart Attack: What’s The Difference?

Most people associate chest pain with heart attack, but not all chest pains are the same. Perhaps it could be heartburn or a side effect of anxiety. However, in most cases, a tingling sensation in the left side of your chest is due to two main reasons: Angina vs Heart Attack.

Since the two diseases share similar symptoms, it’s easy to confuse one for the other. For instance, if your entire body starts to hurt, and there’s an odd, tightening pressure in your chest, it could be due to a damaged coronary artery. But, despite being hard to distinguish, angina and heart attack are very different. In this blog, we’ll outline the biggest distinctions and similarities between the two.

What is Angina?

The best way to describe angina is that it functions as your body’s way of warning you. Angina is a type of chest pain you feel when your heart isn’t getting the right amount of blood and oxygen pumped to it. This disruptive blood flow is what rings the alarm bells within your body, signifying there could be trouble brewing. Moreover, due to narrow arteries, your body might not function properly.

Although temporary, angina can cause a great deal of pressure to bubble in your chest. So, feeling like someone is squeezing your heart is normal. Plus, there are essentially two types of angina: Stable and Unstable.

  • Stable Angina: When your heart is overworking and needs high amounts of oxygen, you could suffer from stable angina. This is especially if your body cannot meet the demands to produce enough blood in such a short time. However, with some rest and medication, the pain tends to disappear.
  • Unstable Angina: In contrast to its more stable version, unstable angina occurs when your heart isn’t working hard. So, even if the pain subsides after some time, it could potentially put you at risk of a heart attack.

What is a Heart Attack?

You’ve probably seen many reenactments of a heart attack, with actors on the big screen dramatically clutching their chests and falling onto the ground. However, that’s not what a heart attack looks like. In fact, in some cases, people don’t even realize they’re having a heart attack since the symptoms are so subtle.

Nonetheless, a heart attack occurs when the blood flowing to your heart suddenly gets cut off or restricted. This typically happens due to a blockage in the arteries, such as a blood clot. But unlike angina, a heart attack could lead to permanent and damaging results rather than being a temporary warning sign.

When your old ticker doesn’t get the blood it needs to function; it can lead to muscle breakdown and, in some cases, even death.

Angina vs. Heart Attack: Differences & Similarities

Now that you know what exactly a heart attack and angina are, here are the main differences between the two:

  • Causes Both angina and heart attack are a direct result of coronary heart disease. Too much stress, smoking, and a lack of a nutritious diet can also lead to the two.
  • Symptoms People with angina might experience a squeezing type of pressure in their chest, along with a pain that stretches to their neck. Sometimes, jaws, shoulders, arms, and even the back can get affected. Not to mention, shortness of breath is a prevalent symptom of the two heart diseases.

In a heart attack, on the other hand, the person goes through multiple symptoms. For instance, there may be discomfort, pressure in your chest, a burning sensation, irregular heart palpitations, severe nausea, numbness in your hands, and an unusual sense of fatigue.

The Next Step

In conclusion, many factors come into play when identifying the differences between angina vs. heart attack. Intensity, time, pressure, etc., all are a part of it. For more information, contact Octagos Health at (281) 769-8733.