Did you know? Angina many a time occurs during exercise, but eventually goes away when resting. Now, what is angina? Angina is a discomfort or pain in the chest that occurs when the heart muscles are not supplied with enough oxygen-rich-blood. It can be felt like a light pressure or squeezing in the chest but the pain is not confined to one area. You may experience it in your neck, shoulders, arms, back or even in the jaws.
Angina is not regarded as a disease rather it is seen a symptom of a heart problem that may result in a heart attack. It is termed as a symptom of coronary heart disease (CHD). Sometimes people may misunderstand the attack of angina as a heart attack, but still one should not ignore it as it can be a sign of a life-threatening heart issue in future.
What is ischemic chest pain (Angina)?
Angina also is known as ischemic chest pain that can be described as burning sensation in the chest, numbness, pressure, heaviness, tightness or arching; you might also feel like heartburn that is caused due to indigestion.
Simply put, ischemic chest pain occurs when there is a deficiency in the supply of blood to different body parts. An obstruction in the inflow of arterial blood results in the deficiency. It has been found that every 20 seconds a heart occurs, therefore it is important to know better to prevent any mishappenings that may occur.
Types of Angina
Angina which may occur when a person is too much emotionally stressed over an issue or during exercise is regarded as stable angina. In this condition the blood pressure increases which demand more oxygen but due to blockage or narrowing of the heart’s arteries the heart does not receive the required blood.
Also called acute coronary syndrome, unstable angina is most likely to happen when a person is sleeping or resting. It arrives as a surprise, a kind of surprise which no one would want to get. Unstable angina has a high possibility of heart attack and therefore it shouldn’t be taken casually rather reach out to the doctor immediately.
This type of angina affects women predominantly and that’s why it is also known as cardiac syndrome X. Microvascular angina results in chest pain, followed by sleep problems, lack of energy and mostly diagnosed in women who are in their postmenopausal phase.
Microvascular angina can be severe and may last longer than other types of angina. Often felt when a person is under mental stress or attacks might occur while performing day-to-day things.
Prinzmetal’s angina (variant angina)
Prinzmetal’s angina (variant angina) takes place at a time between midnight –early morning at a time in which a person is mostly asleep. This type of angina is triggered by emotional/mental stress or physical exertion. The pain that rises is caused by a spasm in the arteries that supply blood to the heart; if the blood does not flow for a longer duration than it may lead to a heart attack.
Causes of Angina
Blood clots and building up of plague in the arteries- both cause the blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle. Thus the heart starts to pump less oxygen-rich blood to the organs causing pain. Angina mainly occurs due to heart disease.
The common causes of angina are-
- Blockage in the artery of the lungs
- Presence of a narrow valve on the heart
- Thickening of the heart
- Sac swelling around the heart
All such conditions may arise in the lungs and heart due to certain habits which might have become a part of a person’s life, at times the reasons may be an age factor and genetic too-
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Old age
- Obesity-too much amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood
- Not exercising regularly
- Family history of heart problems
The symptoms of Angina
The symptoms and signs of angina can be misunderstood, to avoid it communicate and refer to a doctor. While in silent ischemia there appears no sign or symptoms. List of some of the common symptoms of angina are-
- Vomiting and upset of stomach
- Shortness of breathing
- Heavy or fullness in the chest
- Burning and aching in the chest
- Discomfort or feeling of unease in the chest area
- Squeezing feel not just in the chest area but also in other parts of the body like jaw, neck or back.
What do you do when you have Angina?
To prevent worsening the situation there are certain things that one should look after-
- As soon as a person experiences the symptoms of angina, he/she must immediately stop whatever work they are involved in and get some rest.
- If the pain does not subside even after resting for a while. Gently sit down and take the prescribed angina medicine and for the ones who are getting such a feel for the first time, it is highly recommended to immediately ask for help.
- Reach out to anyone nearby or call your family if the situation does not improve.
- Undergo a proper diagnosis and get the required treatments.
How Angina is treated?
Treatments can help a lot to curb the ill-effects of angina; with adequate treatment, the chances of getting a heart attack or stroke reduces fairly. Doctors may recommend undergoing a test or two to be sure about angina. Types of test that a patient requires before getting treated for angina-
- Chest X-ray
- Coronary angiogram
- Blood test
- Stress exercise test
- CCTA-Coronary computed tomography angiogram
- CMRI-Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
Post-examination the doctor may prescribe medicines. One of the most commonly recommended medicines is Nitrates-glyceryl trinitrate (GNT). Nitrates help to relieve angina by widening the blood vessels and thus letting proper blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body.
Complications in Angina
As noted, angina is a condition that indicates that the person is exposed to the threat of a heart attack. Doctors recommend giving proper attention to patients who are suffering from unstable angina and variant angina as such people may get a heart attack anytime soon. Medical experts suggest a strict change in the lifestyle along with proper medications as prescribed by the doctors.
Other types of angina can also prove to be fatal, so ignoring should never be a choice for such conditions. Get your angina treated and save yourself from the attacks of severe arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death or episodes of disabling pain.
Prevention of Angina
Fight back the symptoms of angina by avoiding an unhealthy lifestyle. Once a person starts following healthy ways like regular exercise, less-oily food, low-fat diet etc. he/she will see a major improvement in the body. All such healthy measures will help them to maintain the cholesterol level, blood sugar level, blood pressure, thus keeping the arteries clear with no amount of blockage or blood clot. If you’re on the lookout to get rid of diseases from your system than adopting a healthy lifestyle is the key.
Try to add lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains to your diet. Low-fat protein like fish which is also rich in omega-3 can be consumed instead of deep-fried meat. Also, maintain a healthy weight and enroll yourself for regular check-ups. If you have a bad habit of smoking, make an effort to quit it as much as possible.
Yoga and light exercise is an ideal first step towards a healthy living. Gift yourself a healthy body as it’s truly said that “Health is wealth”.
For people with unstable angina, it is advised to immediately consult your doctor as in such cases conditions may become critical and depending on the severity of it the doctor will suggest taking medicines or angioplasty or for some patients’ surgery might be recommended.
If the doctor has suggested taking up surgery for a better cure, don’t delay by worrying about your financial conditions. We at LetsMD are here to assist you with any kind of medical finance aid that you may require. Visit our website and reach out to us, your health is our priority.
Q.1- What is Angina Pectoris?
Angina pectoris is a heart condition that occurs when the heart muscle does not get enough blood supply. This occurs if there is a blockage or narrow path in the heart’s arteries. Angina pectoris is also called ischemia. It is a medical term used to refer to chest pain or discomfort that arises due to coronary heart disease.
Q.2- At what age Angina occurs?
Angina is known to happen to people who are in their thirties and beyond. The prime cause of it is known to be coronary artery disease (CAD).
Q.3-What is silent ischemia?
Many people may have silent ischemia. Such people experience ischemia without pain (silent ischemia); the dangerous part is such people may have a heart attack without any warning signs. People who have experienced a previous heart attack or the ones with diabetes carry high chances of developing a silent ischemia condition.
Que4. How long does an angina attack last?
Ans- In the rarest case it can last up to 15 minutes and usually it last to about 5 minutes
Que5. Where does angina hurt?
Ans- It is a chest pain that occurs when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.
Que6. How do you know if the chest pain is muscular?
Ans- If you’re experiencing sharp pain, swelling, muscle spasms or finding difficulty in moving the area then you might be experiencing a muscular chest pain
Que7. Does angina make you feel tired?
Ans- Yes, some angina patient may feel sick or tired accompanied by a shortage of breath.
Que8. Can angina be mistaken for heartburn?
Ans- Yes, angina can be easily mistaken for heartburn. You can be prone to angina if you have risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension or family history of heart disease.