What is Angina Pectoris?
Angina pectoris is a type of chest pain that is caused when the blood flow to the heart is reduced. Angina pectoris often occurs as a result of coronary heart disease. The blood flow is reduced when the arteries to the heart become narrow or blocked. The chest pain as a result of this feels like squeezing, heaviness, pressure, or tightness in the chest. It may occur suddenly and may recur again over time. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can be treated with changes to lifestyle, medication, angioplasty, or even surgery.
Symptoms Of Angina pectoris
The commonly seen Angina pectoris symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Discomfort in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the neck, jaw, arms, back or shoulder
It is essential to meet a doctor as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms to determine whether you have unstable angina or stable angina. The former is a precursor to a heart attack in most cases. According to medical experts, stable angina is more commonly seen than unstable angina. It often occurs when the patient exerts. It often goes away with a bit of rest.
In some cases, people might mistake the chest discomfort as heartburn or gas. It is essential to keep an eye for other symptoms and also check whether the discomfort goes away with rest. If it doesn’t, chances are high that it is unstable angina and if so, you need immediate medical attention.
Who is at Risk?
The top Angina pectoris risk factors include:
- High cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Unhealthy eating
- Old age
- Family history
Studies have shown that people who tend to follow an unhealthy lifestyle and have a family history of heart disease are at a higher risk of developing Angina pectoris. This can be overcome by switching to a balanced diet and daily physical activity. This will also go a long way in reducing your high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This will help improve your cardiac health and prevent stable and unstable angina from developing.
Causes Of Angina Pectoris
The main cause of Angina is due to reduced blood flow to the heart. The blood is responsible for carrying oxygen to the heart muscle. Angina pectoris causes a reduction in the blood flow, which leads to a reduction in the oxygen supply to the heart. This results in a condition known as ischemia or Angina pectoris. The blood flow is reduced due to the fatty deposits in the arteries that have made them narrow. These fatty deposits are called plaques. When you are doing relaxing tasks like sitting or resting, the heart muscle will be able to function on the reduced oxygen levels without a problem. However, when you attempt a task like an exercise, walking uphill, and so on, the angina is triggered due to low blood flow. If it is stable angina you will notice that the chest discomfort goes away after you rest for a while. However, unstable angina will cause a blood vessel rupture or a blood clot resulting in a heart attack.
How is Angina pectoris diagnosed?
Angina pectoris diagnosis often starts with a physical exam. This is followed by follow up questions regarding your family history, any risk factors that you may have, and so on. The doctor will also prescribe tests to help finalize the diagnosis:
- Electrocardiogram: The doctor looks for patterns in the ECG report to check whether the blood flow through the heart has been interrupted or slowed down.
- Stress test: The stress test involves pedalling a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill while your ECG readings and blood pressure are monitored.
- Echocardiogram: This can be used to identify heart problems, including angina related issues.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests can help determine whether heart enzymes have leaked into your blood as a result of a heart attack.
How is Angina pectoris treated?
There are several Angina pectoris treatment options available today. The General Physician will probably ask you to make lifestyle changes as a part of the treatment. The other treatment options include medications, stenting, angioplasty, or even coronary bypass surgery. The medication prescribed for this condition includes nitrates, which help widen your blood vessels and improve your blood flow. Some other medications often prescribed by the doctor depending on the different types of Angina pectoris include aspirin, clot-preventing drugs, beta-blockers, statins, and so on. However, in case it is unstable angina, you will require immediate treatment at the hospital. In case you are not sure, you can always consult with a doctor via Cure.fit’s online video consultation services. The doctor will help chart out an Angina pectoris cure in no time.
How can Angina pectoris be prevented?
Prevention of Angina pectoris can be easily done by following a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and some form of physical activity every day. This can even help prevent cardiac ailments even if you have a family history of it.