Angina or chest pain can be defined as a pain or tightness in and around the area of the heart that occurs due to the restricted blood supply to the heart. It is characterized as chest heaviness or pain which may travel to shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina should not be considered as a disease, rather it is an indication of existing heart problem. It is more common in men. This article will give you a complete understanding of Angina, Types of Angina, Causes of Angina, Prevention and Management of Angina.
Angina is not a disease. It is a symptom of heart problem generally coronary heart diseases. There are different types of angina that I will discuss in details.
Types of Angina or Chest Pain
There are different types of angina. It is divided on the basis of causes, and how long it stays. Let’s learn more in detail-
1.Stable Angina: Stable angina is generally predictable as it is associated with physical stress or activity, such as walking up a hill or climbing stairs. In these conditions, the heart has to work harder and oxygen demand increases. In stable angina patients get relief when they get rest but if this happens regularly you should immediately consult to your cardiac doctor for proper evaluation.
Symptoms of Stable Angina –
- Chest pain occurs when you work hard and heart requires more oxygen.
- It’s a predictable pain as it occurs during hard work.
- It usually lasts for a short period of time.
- Patients get relief from pain with rest and medicine.
- Nausea, fatigues, and shortness of breath.
2.Unstable Angina: It is an irregular sudden chest pain caused by the partial or total blockage of an artery. It can more severe or long-lasting than normal chest pain. If you feel this problem call to your consultant immediately for proper evaluation, treatment and prevention of other medical conditions.
Symptoms of Unstable Angina-
- People face chest pain while resting, sleeping or small work.
- It generally happens at night or morning.
- It usually lasts longer than stable angina.
- The patient does not get immediate relief from medicine.
- It’s condition worsen over a period of time
3. Variant (Prinzmetal) Angina Pectoris – Variant angina pectoris can happen at any time. It has been seen that most of the time it occurs at midnight and in the morning. It generally happens because of spasm in the coronary arteries. Most of the people having variant angina pectoris have a severe blockage of coronary arteries.
Symptoms of Variant Angina Pectoris-
- It usually occurs during resting, sleep or morning.
- It is more severe pain than others.
- Patients get relief with medication
4. Microvascular Angina – Microvascular angina is a chest pain which is the symptoms of coronary microvascular diseases. Coronary microvascular diseases is a heart disease which occurs due to spasm in the wall of small arterial blood vessels which reduce the blood supply to the heart muscles which lead to chest pain referred to as microvascular angina.
Symptoms of Microvascular Angina –
- It is more severe than other types of angina.
- It last longer than others.
- Sleeping issues, shortness of breath and fatigue.
Symptoms of All Types of Angina
Angina is accompanied by:
- Pain in arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back
- Shortness of breath
Causes of Angina
Angina takes place when the oxygen and glucose supply to the heart becomes restricted. This happens when the arteries (blood vessels) have become narrow and they are not able to adequately transport blood to the heart. Chest pain, in certain conditions, gets more noticeable during rigorous exercise.
Risk Factors of Angina
The risk of getting angina increases in the following situations:
- Active and passive smoking
- Being diabetic
- Having high blood pressure
- Family history of angina
- Physical inactivity
- Being obese
- Taking undue stress
Angina may cause the following complications:
- Difficulty in normal activities such as walking, eating and talking
- Irregular heart rate
- Heart attack
Prevention and Management of Angina
Lifestyle changes are very important in preventing all heart diseases including angina.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Control high blood pressure
- Reduce cholesterol levels
- Stay physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Control your blood glucose
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Diagnosis involves electrocardiogram (ECG), exercise stress tests or Tread Mill Test (TMT), echocardiogram (ECHO) and coronary angiography. Treatment of angina aims to provide symptomatic relief and prevent heart attacks. Medication includes:
- Nitrates: the most common form of nitrate used is sublingual nitroglycerin tablets, which you put under your tongue
- Aspirin or other antiplatelet medicines such as clopidogrel: These are used to thin the blood thus prevent heart attacks
- Beta blockers and Calcium channel blockers: these drugs are prescribed to prevent the heart attacks, e.g. Atenolol, Metoprolol, Bisoprolol, Propanolol, Amlodipine, Nifedipine
- Surgery or angioplasty: It is advised in severe conditions only when one is not responding to medication. The stent is a small wire mesh tube that is used to treat narrowed or weakened arteries in the heart, it is of different types.
Points to Remember
- Stop smoking
- Do safe exercises in consultation with your doctor
- Follow proper directions in taking medicines
- Try to avoid situations like which may lead to undue stress
- Avoid heavy meals
- Check your blood pressure regularly
- Avoid heavy work which requires a lot of strength
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