Angina Pectoris is a Latin word describing "Squeezing of the Chest." It is also known as Angina and is a condition in which a person feels tightness in the chest area and spreads to the shoulder (most commonly the right shoulder). It has often been confused with a heart attack. But they are not the same thing. Heart attack is a complication of angina pectoris, caused due to various factors as mentioned below:
Causes of Angina Pectoris
- Reduced supply of blood. The heart muscle requires oxygen, which is carried by the blood. When the heart does not receive enough blood, it leads to ischemia (lack of oxygen) and causes degradation of heart muscles, leading them to pump less and less over a while.
- Coronary artery disease (CAD). It is the most prevalent cause of decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. Plaques, fatty deposits, can constrict the heart (coronary) arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis.
- If plaques in a blood vessel break or a blood clot develop, the flow through a constricted artery can be immediately blocked or reduced, causing a heart attack. This might result in a rapid and severe reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle.
- During periods of low oxygen demand, such as when resting, the heart muscle may be able to perform with less blood flow without producing angina symptoms. Angina can occur when oxygen needs to increase, such as during exercising.
Types of Angina
There are several forms of Angina. The underlying reason determines whether rest or medicine relieves its symptoms.
Stable Angina. It generally occurs after physical activity (exertion) and resolves with rest or angina medication. For example, discomfort arises when walking uphill or in cold temperatures. Stable angina pain is anticipated and often resembles fast bouts of chest discomfort. The pain lasts less, such as five minutes or even less.
Unstable Angina. It develops at rest and is unexpected. It is usually severe and lasts longer than stable Angina, maybe 20 minutes or more. The discomfort is not relieved by rest or the standard angina treatments. If the blood flow does not improve, the heart will be deprived of oxygen, resulting in a heart attack. Unstable Angina is severe and needs immediate medical attention.
Angina variant (Prinzmetal angina). Variant angina, often known as Prinzmetal Angina, is caused by something other than coronary artery disease. A spasm produces it in the arteries of the heart, which briefly restricts blood flow. The significant sign of variant angina is severe chest discomfort. It usually happens in cycles, usually during rest and overnight. Angina medicine may help to alleviate the pain.
Refractory Angina. In this type of Angina, angina attacks remain persistent despite lifestyle adjustments and medical management.
What are the symptoms of Angina?
The following symptoms occur in Angina:
- Feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest, in which the person feels as if their heart was being squeezed;
- Aching sensations across the chest, particularly under the breastbone; the pains begin to spread to the arms, neck, jaw, or even the teeth.
- Shortness of breath
If an individual has any of the above symptoms, they should see their physician immediately. They will require that the patient take an EKG (Electrocardiogram) test or a heart stress test. If the patient shows signs of Angina, they will be on a treatment regimen. They will be strongly advised to avoid such things as engaging in strenuous activities and eating heavy meals, and they may even be put on a specific diet. Angina can be overcome only by determination and following the physician's complete instructions.
Risk factors of Angina
The following factors may raise your risk of Angina:
Aging. Angina is more prevalent in an older population, generally over 60.
Positive family history of heart disease. Inform your doctor if your mother, father, or siblings have had heart disease or a heart attack.
Tobacco consumption. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and long-term secondhand smoke exposure can damage the lining of the arteries, causing cholesterol deposits to accumulate and restrict blood flow.
Diabetes. Diabetes accelerates atherosclerosis and raises cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease, which leads to angina and heart attacks.
High blood pressure. High blood pressure affects arteries over time by hastening artery hardening.
High levels of cholesterol or triglycerides. In the bloodstream, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can induce artery narrowing. High LDL cholesterol increases the risk for angina and heart attacks.
Other medical conditions. Angina is more likely in those with chronic renal disease, peripheral artery disease, metabolic syndrome, or a history of stroke.
Lack of exercise. Inactivity is linked to many health-related issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early diabetes, and obesity. Consult your doctor to start an exercise regime that works best for you.
Obesity. Researchers have long known the relationship between obesity and heart disease. Obesity increases the load on the heart to provide sufficient blood to the body.
Emotional strain. Anger and stress may both elevate blood pressure. Hormone surges caused by stress can restrict the arteries and aggravate Angina.
Medications. Drugs constricting blood arteries, such as certain migraine medications, may cause Prinzmetal's Angina.
Misuse of drugs. Cocaine and other stimulants have been linked to blood vessel spasms and Angina.
Low Temperatures. Prinzmetal Angina can be triggered by chilly weather.
Complication, Prevention & Treatment of Angina
Angina can cause chest discomfort, making some activities, such as walking, problematic. Below is the list of complications of Angina:
- More than a few minutes of pressure, fullness, or squeezing discomfort in the middle of the chest
- Pain that radiates from the chest to the shoulder, arm, back, or even the teeth and mouth
- A foreboding of impending disaster
- Increasing occurrences of chest pain
- Vomiting and nausea
- Continued discomfort in the upper abdomen (abdomen)
- Breathing difficulty
If you have any of these symptoms, get emergency medical treatment right away.
By making the same lifestyle adjustments that are used to treat Angina, you may help avoid it. These are some examples:
- Quit smoking
- Eating a nutritious diet.
- Avoiding or restricting alcohol.
- Regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stress reduction
- Obtaining prescribed immunizations to minimize cardiac issues
- Medical treatment for Angina includes Aspirin, Nitrates, Stantins, Calcium-channel Blockers, and Ranexa. The main aim of these drugs is to dissolve the clots allowing blood to pass through the arteries smoothly.
- Whereas, in case of complications and advanced stage of Angina, surgical procedures such as angioplasty and stent placement are done, increasing blood supply to the heart.
It can be challenging to identify Angina from other forms of chest pain, such as indigestion. Take immediate action if you notice unexplained chest discomfort. With the tips from Cured.com, you avoid Angina and have a healthy life.From the Web