Symptoms of angina; most commonly is a feeling of pain or discomfort in the chest. The pain is often described as feeling tight, dull or heavy.
Similar to heart attack in that the pain can spread from the chest to the left arm, neck, jaw and back.
In some cases the pain is often described as being similar to indigestion.
As well as chest pain, there could also be:
- breathlessness (There may be breathlessness without any obvious chest pain.)
- feeling unusually tired
There are two types of angina:
- unstable angina. Both have similar symptoms however there are some very important differences.
Stable angina attacks usually occur when the heart has been forced to work harder than normal, perhaps during physical activity or even emotional stress.
Pain can also develop after eating a meal or during extremely cold weather. These are known as angina triggers.
It is worth noting that the symptoms of stable angina will generally improve after a few minutes rest, whereas unstable angina is more unpredictable and can develop without the afore mentioned triggers. Pain is also likely to persist even during resting and may last longer than a few minutes, also they do not always respond to treatments used for stable angina.
If aspirin is available and the patient is not allergic to it, encourage them to chew on one tablet whist awaiting the arrival of crew. Chewable aspirin works faster than other forms. Aspirin helps to prevent blood clots and will reduce the risk of experiencing a heart attack or a stroke.
If an angina attack has previously been diagnosed the patient is likely to have glyceryl trinitrate. If the first dose isn’t effective then a second dose can be taken after five minutes.