Angina is discomfort or pain in the chest that happens when not enough oxygen-rich blood reaches the muscle cells of the heart. The most common cause of angina is coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is usually caused by atherosclerosis. In this condition, fatty deposits (called plaque) build up along the inside walls of blood vessels that feed oxygen and nutrients to the pumping heart.
Angina occurs when one or more of the coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked. The discomfort of angina can be mild at first and gradually get worse. Or it may come on suddenly.
Although angina most commonly affects males who are middle-aged or older, it can occur in both sexes and in all age groups. Angina also is called angina pectoris.