What Is Angina?  

Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused by inadequate oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart. As a result, your heart may pump quicker and harder to acquire more blood, generating visible discomfort.

Angina generally goes away shortly. Nonetheless, it may indicate a life-threatening cardiac condition. It is essential to determine what is happening and what you can do to prevent a heart attack. 

What Are the Symptoms of Angina? 

Irregular heartbeats and soreness in the chest are apparent signs of angina. Some symptoms of chest pain or discomfort include:

  • Burning
  • Fullness
  • Pressure
  • Squeezing
  • Arm, neck, jaw, shoulder, and back discomfort are possible

Angina can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sweating

Angina may range in intensity, last for different amounts of time, and occur in different ways. New or unusual symptoms may indicate a potentially fatal form of angina (unstable angina) or a heart attack.

When experiencing new or worsening angina symptoms, it is important to see a doctor immediately. So, that they can establish if your condition is stable or unstable. 

The chest, neck, and shoulders are common areas of discomfort for men. However, women might experience discomfort in their stomach, neck, jaw, throat, or back. You might also have palpitations, excessive perspiration, and lightheadedness. 

What Are the Causes of Angina?  

Insufficient blood supply to the heart (myocardial ischemia) is the root cause of angina. Several issues with the coronary arteries can prevent the heart from obtaining sufficient blood. Examples of this are:

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of chest pain known as angina (CAD). It occurs when plaque (a fatty, waxy material) accumulates in the coronary arteries that carry blood to the heart. When these arteries stiffen and narrow (a condition known as atherosclerosis), blood flow to the heart is restricted.

In addition, coronary microvascular disease is more prevalent in women than in men. It causes damage to the lining of capillaries, which are the small blood vessels that branch out from your coronary arteries. These blood vessels cannot be detected by standard CAD testing and require specialized testing that is not available at all medical facilities.

If you suffer from coronary artery spasms, the arteries in the heart continually contract and relax. The circulation to the heart is briefly impeded by these spams. Even in the absence of coronary artery disease, coronary spasms can occur. It may be difficult to detect with standard CAD diagnostics and may need additional testing not accessible at all hospitals.

What Are the Types of Angina? 

Angina can have several forms. The type is determined by the underlying reason and if rest or medicine alleviates symptoms.

  • Stable Angina

Stable angina appears with physical exertion and disappears once the patient rests or takes medicine for angina. You may be experiencing angina if chest discomfort is triggered by exertion or temperature changes.

The discomfort of stable angina is regular and often feels the same as it did during earlier occurrences. Experiencing chest discomfort usually only lasts a few minutes at most.

  • Unstable Angina

Unstable angina strikes without warning and when one is resting. Alternatively, the angina is intensifying and happening with less effort. A typical attack of unstable angina will be extremely painful and continue for at least 20 minutes. Rest and standard angina treatments are ineffective. The heart will suffer from oxygen deprivation and a heart attack if blood flow is not improved. Moreover,  Angina that is unstable is life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention.

  • Variant Angina

Variant angina, often known as Prinzmetal angina, is not a consequence of coronary artery disease. Due to an arterial spasm, the blood supply to the heart is briefly cut off. Extreme chest discomfort is the primary symptom of variant angina. It often happens in waves, especially during times of inactivity and sleep. Angina medicine could help with the pain.

  • Refractory Angina

Recurrent angina attacks persist despite the use of medicines and lifestyle changes.

Angina - An Overview

How Is Angina Diagnosed?

The diagnosis will include questions regarding symptoms, risk factors, and family history, as well as a physical examination. In some cases, they may need to take tests like: 

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Chest Xray
  • Stress test
  • Blood tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Nuclear stress test
  • Coronary angiography
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT)
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging

What Questions Will Your Doctor Ask? 

Your doctor could ask you: 

  • When did your symptoms initially appear?
  • Exactly how intense is the discomfort in your chest?
  • Can you specify the precise area where you’re suffering right now?
  • Is there a radiating discomfort in the neck and arms as well?
  • Is the onset of discomfort slow or quick?
  • How long is the duration of the pain?
  • Are you experiencing any additional symptoms other than pain, like sickness or fainting?
  • Have you ever experienced difficulty swallowing?
  • Does heartburn happen to you occasionally?

What Are the Treatment Options for Angina?  

The treatment options for Angina may include lifestyle changes, Angioplasty and stenting, and surgery. 

When proper food and regular exercise aren’t enough to enhance heart health and reduce angina discomfort, medication may be the next best option.

  1. Medicines

Medicines used to alleviate angina pain may include:

  • Nitrates
  • Aspirin
  • Clot-Preventing Drugs
  • Beta Blockers
  • Statins
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Ranolazine

Take these heart medications online only after consulting a doctor.

  1. Operations and Other Therapeutic Measures

If changes in lifestyle, medications, or other treatments fail to alleviate angina symptoms, a catheter operation or open-heart surgery may be necessary.

Surgeries and treatments used to alleviate chest pain caused by coronary artery disease and angina are:

  • Angioplasty with stenting.

A small balloon is put into the restricted artery during angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). After inflating the balloon, a tiny wire mesh coil (stent) is typically placed into the artery to keep it open.

Angioplasty with stenting increases cardiac blood flow, which alleviates or eliminates chest pain associated with a lack of oxygen. If lifestyle modifications and medicines fail to alleviate persistent, stable angina, angioplasty with stenting may be a viable alternative for therapy.

  • Open-heart Surgery

A vein or artery from another part of the body is utilized to reroute blood around a constricted or obstructed heart artery during coronary artery bypass surgery. Bypass surgery improves circulation to the heart. Both unstable angina and stable angina that hasn’t improved with conventional therapies may benefit from this method. 

What Are the Prevention Methods for Angina? 

Maintaining a healthy heart can reduce your risk of developing angina. Follow these prevention methods for improved heart health:

  • Quit using any form of tobacco immediately. Furthermore, s Stay away from smoky environments.
  • Get on a heart-healthy eating plan. Reduce your consumption of fatty foods, trans fats, sugar, and salt.
  • Learn to deal with pressure in different ways. You can try seeing a therapist, and doing some yoga, or meditation.
  • Writing about one’s feelings and worries in a journal is another method for dealing with such things.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re unsure of what you should be aiming for consult a specialist. Asking for guidance from him or her will point you in the right direction.
  • Take care of potential heart disease triggers. These conditions include hypertension, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and insulin resistance or diabetes.
  • Increase your physical activity. Try to exercise daily.
  • Follow your cardiologist’s advice and take the medicine he or she has given. A number of these drugs have been found to alleviate angina symptoms.