We can define angina as chest pain caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart. Pressure or squeezing in the chest can make you feel like you have a heart attack. Angina pectoris, or ischemic chest pain, is a common term for this ailment. Coronary artery disease can cause angina, a symptom (CAD). A blood clot or atherosclerosis narrows or blocks the arteries that supply blood to the heart, resulting in heart failure. Unstable plaques, a narrowed heart valve, an impaired pumping function of the heart muscle, and a coronary artery spasm are all possible causes.
TypesAngina can take one of three forms:
Stable AnginaThis is a symptom of an overworked heart. There is a regularity to stable angina symptoms. Medicines and rest are usually effective.
Unstable AnginaIf there is no physical exertion involved, it can occur without a specific pattern. Rest and medication do not alleviate the symptoms. It’s a warning sign that you’re on the verge of having a heart attack.
Variant AnginaVariant angina is a relatively uncommon disease to have. It occurs when you’re sleeping. Medicines can be helpful.
SymptomsThe following symptoms characterize angina:
- Pressure, squeezing or crushing in the chest, usually under the breastbone.
- The upper back, arms, neck, and ear lobes can also be affected.
- Your arms, shoulders, jaw, neck, or back may be aching.
- Constricted airways
- Fatigue and a feeling of weakness
- Faint in the face
CausesAngina is a symptom of a heart condition like:
Coronary artery disease:Men and women alike suffer from angina due primarily to CAD. A plaque build-up in the coronary arteries blocks blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Reduced blood flow to the heart is caused by the narrowing or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Myocardial ischemia occurs as a result of a lack of blood flow. People are at greater risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Microvascular disease (MVD)Angina from MVD is more common in women than in men. Deficiencies in the walls and linings of coronary artery branches are the cause of it. Coronary spasms occur when blood flow to the heart is reduced.
Coronary spasmsIn the event of a coronary spasm, the coronary arteries repeatedly constrict and then expand. The heart’s blood flow is temporarily restricted during these spasms. Coronary spasms are possible even if you don’t have coronary artery disease. Heart spasms can occur in coronary arteries of any size or shape. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing angina symptoms that aren’t consistent with what you’re used to, such as when you’re resting.
MedicationsYou may need to take medications if modifying your lifestyle isn’t enough to alleviate your angina symptoms. These are some examples:
Calcium channel blockersBlood vessels widen by affecting the muscle cells in the arterial walls, which is how calcium channel blockers, also known as calcium antagonists, work. Reduced or eliminated angina can be avoided by increasing blood flow to the heart.
NitratesNitrates are commonly used to treat angina. Nitrous oxide widens and relaxes your arteries to increase blood flow to the heart. A common treatment for angina is nitrates, such as nifedipine, to alleviate symptoms and prevent angina from developing in the first place. When treating angina, nitro-glycerine tablets are the most common form of nitrate.
AspirinAspirin reduces the ability of your blood to clot, allowing your heart’s arteries to flow more easily. Preventing blood clots can also help to keep heart attacks at bay. If you’re taking aspirin regularly, talk to your doctor first.
Beta-blockersBeta-blockers block the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. As a result of a gentler heartbeat, blood pressure is reduced. Beta-blockers ease angina symptoms by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow.
Medications that lower blood pressure is availableIf you have hypertension, diabetes, signs of heart failure, or chronic kidney disease, your doctor will almost certainly prescribe a blood pressure-lowering medication. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are the two main classes of blood pressure-lowering drugs (ARBs).
Surgery and medical proceduresStable angina is commonly treated with a combination of dietary and pharmaceutical interventions. Angina can be treated medically with angioplasty, stenting, and coronary artery bypass surgery.
External counterpulsation (ECP)ECP uses blood pressure-type cuffs to increase blood flow to the heart by placing them around the calves, thighs, and pelvis. You will have to undergo more than one session to receive the full benefits of ECP. Stenting and angioplasty. As part of the procedure known as PCI (also known as percutaneous coronary intervention), angioplasty is performed. It is common to insert a small wire mesh coil (stent) to keep the artery wide open after inflating the balloon. Angina is reduced or eliminated as a result of this procedure. In the case of chronic, stable angina for which lifestyle changes and medications have failed to provide relief, angioplasty and stenting may be an option.
Coronary artery bypass operationBypass surgery uses another vein or artery from another part of your body to bypass a blocked or narrowed blood vessel in your heart. Bypass surgery improves or eliminates angina by increasing blood flow to the heart.
ComplicationsAngina can make routine activities like walking painful due to the accompanying chest pain. Heart attacks, on the other hand, pose the greatest threat. A heart attack can manifest as any of the following:
- Long-lasting chest discomfort that isn’t alleviated by resting or taking over-the-counter medications.
- Extending beyond your chest to your shoulder, arm, back or even your teeth and jaw, you may be experiencing severe pain.
- Chest pain is becoming more frequent.
- Vomiting and feeling sick
- The upper abdomen has been inflamed for a long period.
- Constricted airways
- Doomsday gloom and dread
PreventionAngina can be prevented with the following methods:
- Consuming a diet rich in nutrients
- giving up smoking
- exercising regularly
- developing coping mechanisms for dealing with pressure