Stable Angina vs Unstable Angina: What’s the Difference?

Angina pectoris is the medical term for chest pain caused by heart disease. It usually feels like pressure in the chest, but can also radiate to the shoulders, arms, back, neck, or jaw. Angina itself is not a disease, it is merely a symptom of underlying heart disease.

The two most common types of angina are stable angina and unstable angina.

Both types can occur when the heart is overworking, but here’s the crucial difference:

Stable Angina

The most common type of angina, stable angina, is considered “stable” because of its predictability: it usually occurs with activity or emotional stress. However, anything that makes the heart work harder or reduces how much oxygen it receives, can bring on an angina attack. Something as simple as cold weather can be a trigger, and even the “stress” of a very large meal can precipitate an attack. The pain of a stable angina attack does not get worse over time, and will usually go away after a few minutes of rest, or after taking angina medication.

While stable angina is not as serious as unstable angina, it can be painful, and indicates an increased risk of heart attack. For that reason, Medicare and other insurers will pay for cardiac rehabilitation for beneficiaries who have a current case of stable angina.

Unstable Angina

Unstable angina is unpredictable. It can occur with or without physical activity, and is not relieved by rest or angina medication. Unlike stable angina, the pain of unstable angina can get worse over a short period of time.

Unstable angina is an emergency condition, and it is often a precursor to a heart attack. If someone is suffering from an attack of unstable angina, it is important to get them emergency treatment right away.

Regency has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to create the NJ Heart and Lung Center™, a program that:   

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include: 

  • Individualized planning for every patient
  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

Regency prides itself on offering the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.   

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Are you interested in The NJ Heart and Lung Center for yourself or someone you love? A member of our team will be happy to answer your questions and schedule an on-site tour. Of course, you can also call us anytime.

The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Jewish Heritage
380 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873
(732) 873-2000
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The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Gardens
296 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470
(973) 790-5800
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