Different Types Of Angina & The Most Common Type of Angina

Angina is a medical term that is used for chest pain or any discomfort that is caused by a temporary disruption in the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. It is mostly described as a discomfort such as a squeezing, burning or a suffocating feeling, usually in the center of the chest, behind the breastbone. It must be noted that angina attack is a warning that without treatment, you will be at a risk of heart attack, arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest. So, all kinds of chest pain should be checked out by a doctor.

Well, coming to angina, we must tell that there are different types of angina. So, what are these different types of angina and what is the most common type of angina? Go through the following array of the article and know about all of these.

Different Types Of Angina & The Most Common Type of Angina

Basically there are four major types of angina, and they are Stable angina, unstable angina, Variant angina and Microvascular angina. Let us know about each of them in a precise manner.

Stable Angina:

This is the type of angina attack that lasts 5 minutes and rarely more than 15 minutes. In this type of angina, there is pain and discomfort in the heart, or chest when the heart must work harder or generally during physical exertion. It is relieved by rest and medicines. Pain in the chest may spread to the neck, shoulders, back and jaw. You may feel like a burning sensation of heartburn or indigestion or gas.

If you experience an episode of stable angina, you must track what triggers it, record how long the attack last and also note what helped you ease the pain and discomfort.

Unstable Angina:

Unstable angina often occurs at rest, especially while sleeping at night, or with little physical exertion. The pain or discomfort comes as a surprise. This type of angina is more severe and lasts longer than stable angina. It may last up to 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Unstable angina usually is not relieved by rest or medicine and it may get worse over time.

A strict point to note that if unstable angina occur; it may mean that a heart attack will occur soon. You must note that if you experience an episode of unstable angina, you must seek immediate medical attention and the condition must be treated immediately. You must require medical treatment so as to prevent a heart attack.

Variant Angina:

Variant angina is also called as Prinzmetal angina. The pain and discomfort in case of variant angina usually occurs at rest and during the night or during the early morning hours.

This is caused by a spasm in the coronary arteries. Spasms can be caused due to exposure to cold weather, stress, smoking, use of cocaine or taking medications that may tighten or narrow the arteries.

This pain or discomfort in case of variant angina tends to be severe and is relieved by medicine.

Microvascular Angina:

Microvascular angina is sometimes called as the Cardiac syndrome X or CSX. In case of Microvascular angina the pain and discomfort may be more severe and may last longer than any other types of angina. This pain may occur with shortness of breath, fatigue, lack of energy and sleep problems.

This may be a symptom of a heart disease called as Coronary microvascular disease of MVD that affects the smallest blood vessels of the heart. Microvascular angina is caused when the tiny blood vessels that feed your heart do not function in a proper way. In this case, pain is usually unpredictable and can happen during exercise or while resting.

Treatments usually include medication and lifestyle changes. However, you must seek immediate medical help for such type of angina attack. Microvascular angina is more common in women than men. About 70% of patients are women who are approaching or already have gone through menopause.

The Most Common Type Of Angina

It is known that there are two most common types of angina. They are the stable angina and the unstable angina. Stable angina can be managed with medication and few lifestyle changes, while unstable angina may not respond to rest or medications and may require immediate medical attention.


So, when you have an angina attack, it is to be known that it is your heart telling you that it requires more oxygen. You must take rest and take your medications. It is also to be noted that angina is almost always a sign that you have blocked arteries and heart disease, and without treatment you are at a risk of heart attack, arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. So, you must seek immediate medical help in case you suffer from an angina attack that lasts more than few minutes or that does not get well even after rest and medication.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 6, 2018

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