Ischemia means your heart muscle is not getting enough blood and oxygen. It is usually caused by a narrowing or blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries. These arteries supply blood to the heart muscle.
When you have ischemia, you may feel angina symptoms. For most people, angina feels like chest pain or pressure. Some people feel short of breath. Some people feel other symptoms. These symptoms include pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly or in one or both shoulders or arms.
Rarely, some people have ischemia but do not feel any symptoms. This is called silent ischemia.
Ischemia can happen when your heart needs more oxygen because it is working harder than usual. For example, it might happen when you exercise or when you feel stressed. Ischemia may go away when you rest because your heart is getting enough blood and oxygen.
Author: Healthwise Staff Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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