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Living with - Angina

If your symptoms are well controlled and you make healthy lifestyle changes, you can usually have a normal life with angina.

Diet and lifestyle

Angina is a warning sign that you're at risk of serious problems like heart attacks and strokes.

To reduce the risk of problems like these, you should:

Exercise and sport

It's also important to stay active if you have angina.

You might worry that exercising could trigger your symptoms or cause a heart attack, but the risk is low if you:

  • build up your activity level gradually and take regular breaks
  • keep your GTN spray or tablets with you
  • if needed, use the spray or take a tablet before starting exercise

Speak to your GP if you're not sure it's safe for you to exercise.


If you work, you can usually continue to do so.

Make sure you keep your GTN medicine with you in case you have an attack at work.

If your job involves heavy lifting or manual labour, speak to your employer about changes you can make to reduce the risk of an attack.

This may mean changing your duties or cutting back on how much heavy work you do.

Having sex

Some people worry that having sex will trigger an angina attack, but the risk of this happening is low.

If you're worried about having an attack during sex:

  • keep your GTN medicine nearby so you can use it quickly if needed
  • consider using your medicine just before having sex to reduce the risk of an attack


You can usually keep driving if you have angina.

You only need to stop if your attacks occur at rest, while driving, or are triggered by emotion. You can start driving again when your symptoms are well controlled.

Ask your GP if it's safe for you to drive.

If you have a group 2 driving license you cannot drive for 4 weeks after an episode of angina and you must notify the National Driving licence Service (NDLS).

Download the NDLS leaflet on cardiac conditions and driving (PDF, size 593 KB, 8 pages)

Getting support

Living with angina can be difficult at times.

Speak to your GP if you have been feeling down for a few weeks. They may recommend treatments that can help, such as medicines or talking therapy.

You might also find it useful to use a support group such as the Irish Heart Foundation.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 25 March 2021
Next review due: 25 March 2024

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.