In this Health Article:
- What Causes Angina?
- What Are the Symptoms of Angina?
- What Are the Types of Angina?
- What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Angina?
- What Are the Treatments Available for Angina?
- How Do You Cope Up with Angina?
- What Are the Ways to Prevent Angina?
- Medications for Angina Available at InternationalDrugMart.com
- Self Care
IntroductionAngina is a chest pain or discomfort in the chest. The pain occurs behind the breastbone. The afflicted person may feel immense pressure, fullness, pain or squeezing in the chest. Besides the chest, the pain may also spread to left shoulders, left arms, left neck, jaw, or back. The discomfort is temporary, may last few minutes or few seconds. But, an episode of angina indicates an increased risk of suffering a heart attack. Thus, Angina by itself is not a disease. The trigger factors for angina are physical exercise, stress, extreme cold or a heavy meal.
What Causes Angina?The chest pain occurs when an area of the heart does not get enough blood and oxygen that it requires. It is the coronary arteries that carry blood to the hear muscle. The blood flow provides the oxygen and nutrients most needed by the heart to keep it pumping. When, for instance during exercise, climbing stairs or any state of exertion the heart has to pump faster, and cannot get the blood it needs, angina occurs. People who are more susceptible to angina include those who are obese, have a high blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and diabetes, consume excess alcohol and smoke and do little physical activity.
Two underlying causes for the reduced blood to the heart are coronary artery disease and coronary artery spasm.
Coronary artery disease: Also known as coronary heart disease, the coronary arteries become constricted and the pathway for blood flow becomes narrow due to fatty deposits called plaques. When a person is involved in normal functioning, the blood flow is sufficient. But, when the situation or activity demand an increased blood supply, the arteries are incapable of meeting the increase in demand and causes pain in the heart as chest pain.
Coronary artery spasm: Unlike coronary artery disease, coronary artery spasm does not occur when the heart has been overworked. The attack is most likely to happen when the person is at rest or asleep, (Rest Angina) between the hours of midnight and 8.00 a.m. The person experiences crushing pain when the spasm, contraction of the smooth muscle within the coronary arteries occurs.
What Are the Symptoms of Angina?Not all chest pain is angina. Even in case of acid reflux, upper respiratory infection, asthma or sore muscles or ligaments in the chest, peptic ulcer, gall bladder problems, irritation of esophagus, pneumonia, pleurisy, a broken rib or arthritis of the breastbone, some types of anxiety such as hyperventilation, panic disorder, or depression can cause chest pain.
Some symptoms of angina are shortness of breath, nausea, feeling of moderate to severe indigestion, perspiration, sharp, burning or cramping pain, numbness or a loss of feeling in arms, shoulders or writs. Symptoms of Angina differ with types.
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What Are the Types of Angina?Angina is also called as Angina Pectoris. It is classified into three types.
Stable angina or chronic stable angina: The most common type of angina, it is triggered by physical exertion or extreme emotional distress. Stable angina disappears with rest.
Unstable angina: This suggests an impending heart attack. Unstable angina is marked by frequent angina, at rest, severe, lasts longer or occurs with minimal activity. As the name suggests, this type of angina is unstable and is likely to progress to heart attack. It occurs when fatty deposits rupture or forms blood clots thereby blocking or further reducing flow through the narrowed artery. The blood flow to the heart muscle all of a sudden severely decreases.
What Are the Diagnosis & Tests for Angina?If at any point of time, you suffer from chest pain or discomfort when you exert yourself or at rest, it is best to seek immediate medical attention. Your physician may begin by asking certain questions followed by checking blood pressure, heart and chest rhythm. Certain tests would also be recommended to understand the underlying causes. The tests would typically include an ECG, blood tests, an echocardiogram and an angiogram.
ECG: Electrocardiogram is done to measure heart's electrical activity while at rest or while exercising on a treadmill.
Blood tests: To take into account blood count, cholesterol and lipid levels, and enzymes released by damaged heart cells.
Echocardiogram: To see the working of the heart's chambers and valves. Angiogram: to check narrowing or blockages.
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What Are the Treatments Available for Angina?After detailed examination, your physician may decide on future course of treatment method. The severity of angina and the heart condition will be taken into consideration. Medications like beta-blockers, nitrates (such as nitroglycerin), and calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and anti-clotting drugs will be prescribed. Besides medications, your physician may advise getting hospitalized to observe. If need be, surgery or angioplasty will performed. For those who are not medically fit to have bypass surgery or angioplasty transmyocardial laser revascularization, a new technique for relieving severe angina will be recommended.
How Do You Cope Up with Angina?You are not alone. In the United States, 4 out of 100,000 people suffer from Angina. If you have suffered from Angina pain, it is most like to reoccur. Use these tips to cope with Angina.
- Stay calm. Learn a relaxation technique and practice when feeling highly stressed.
- Always monitor blood pressure and learn to keep under control.
- Follow instructions give by your physician. Never skip medications.
- Consult your physician and chart an exercise regimen.
- The moment you experience angina, remember to lie or rest.
- Avoid fat or high-cholesterol foods.
What Are the Ways to Prevent Angina?The best way to prevent Angina is by removing the factors that may result in Angina. You need to make certain lifestyle changes as well as treat related conditions hand-in-hand. Use these tips to prevent Angina.
- Follow a healthy eating plan.
- Abstain from smoking.
- Keep yourself physically active.
- Consult physician and engage in exercise that are safe
- Learn to tackle stress.
- Learn relaxation techniques.
- Involve in activities that you enjoy.
- Take medications as directed by physician.
- If obese, learn to lose weight.
- Keep your blood sugar level under control
- If cholesterol level is high, bring it under control.
- Don't miss appointments with your physician nor postpone.
- Find ways to tackle depression and anger.
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Self CareHere are few simple, effective Angina self-care tips that you can take to help prevent angina attacks and also stop angina progress to a heart attack.
- If you have been smoking, it is best to give up. Find methods that can help you abstain step-by-step and then totally.
- Keep tab on your weight. Keep it under control.
- Eat a healthy diet low in fat.
- Include oily fish like sardines or salmon once a week.
- Keep away from alcohol.
- Follow an exercise regimen.
- Consult physician and check what is best for you.
- Learn relaxation techniques and practice diligently.
- Never postpone or avoid appointments with doctor.
- Keep blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes under control.
- Never miss to take medications.
- Try to eat oily fish, such as sardines or salmon, once a wee Take regular exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming is recommended. Get advice from your doctor or practice nurse on how much exercise you can do without any problems, and gradually increase it over time.