When you have an episode of angina, it means that one of the muscles in your heart is temporarily not getting enough blood. Usually, this happens when you are exercising or going up a set of stairs. While you should never be complacent about chest pain, angina itself is not a heart attack.
Angina does, however, mean that you are suffering from coronary artery disease and being aware of the symptoms and feelings of your stable angina episodes will help you to recognize if something more serious is going on.
A heart attack is different from angina and means that the blood flow to some part of your heart is suddenly cut off. While symptoms can vary greatly among people, with a heart attack, the chest pain lasts longer, is more severe, and previously prescribed medications do not help.
If you have angina, you are at a greater risk of heart attack than those who don’t. Also, the risk of a heart attack increases if your angina patterns change. If your episodes become longer, happen without any exercise, or are more frequent, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Knowing your condition and having it treated are the best precautions against heart attack. And if you are having trouble working, or have had to quit your job, you may want to consider applying for disability in Massachusetts.
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