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Symptoms

The main symptom of angina is chest pain. Some people also have other symptoms.

Chest pain could be angina if it:

  • feels tight, dull or heavy – although some people (especially women) may have sharp, stabbing pain
  • spreads to your arms, neck, jaw or back
  • is triggered by physical exertion or stress
  • stops within a few minutes of resting

Angina can also cause:

  • breathlessness
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • pain in your lower chest or belly – similar to indigestion
  • feeling very tired

Some people have these symptoms without obvious chest pain.

If you have not been diagnosed with angina:

  1. Stop what you're doing and rest.
  2. Make an urgent appointment to see a GP if the symptoms go away in few minutes.
  3. Call 999 for an ambulance if the symptoms do not stop in a few minutes – this could be a heart attack.
  4. If aspirin is easily available and you're not allergic to it, chew 1 tablet while waiting for an ambulance – this can help if you're having a heart attack.

If you've already been diagnosed with angina:

  1. Stop what you're doing and rest.
  2. Take the medicine prescribed for you (glyceryl trinitrate, or GTN, spray or tablets).
  3. Take another dose after 5 minutes if the first one does not help.
  4. Call 999 for an ambulance if you still have symptoms 5 minutes after taking the second dose.