Angina (Chest Pain)
What is angina? Angina is a feeling of tightness, squeezing, or pain in the chest. It happens when the heart does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. Men and women of any age can have angina, but it is more common among middleaged and older adults.
There are 2 types of angina: stable angina and unstable angina.
- Stable angina is chest discomfort that is usually predictable. It happens with exercise or increased activity. (call our office to discuss)
- Unstable angina is unexpected chest discomfort that can happen at any time. Little or no exercise is needed to cause symptoms. You may even have symptoms when you are resting. (usually will need to report to the nearest ER without delay)
What is the cause?
Angina may be caused by any condition that affects the blood flow to your heart . However, you may also have angina at rest or while sleeping.
You are more likely to have angina when your heart is working harder, for example:
You are exercising or doing heavy physical labor, you are upset, you are in cold air (for example…shoveling snow) or you are digesting a big meal.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of angina may vary from person to person. Symptoms may include: feeling of tightness or heaviness, squeezing, pressure, or burning in the chest, discomfort that may spread to one or both arms, neck, back, or jaw, a feeling of having gas or indigestion, belching or even nausea (upset stomach) or possible sweating, shortness of breath that is often worse with activity
Angina symptoms usually last for only a few minutes (5 minutes or less) and usually go away with rest or medicine (nitroglycerin).
Call your healthcare provider if:
The chest pains or symptoms are stronger, last longer, happen when you are resting, happen more often, at new times of day, or with activities that did not cause angina before, or you need to use more nitro before the pain or discomfort goes away.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell a severe attack of angina from the beginning of a true heart attack so you may need to call 911 for emergency help right away Medicine for angina? Often the symptoms of angina can be controlled with medicine. Your provider will determine which type of medicine is right for you based on your test results and any other medical problems you have.
Surgery and other procedures : Angina caused by blocked arteries can be treated with surgical procedures.
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is one of the procedures that may be done.
- Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a simpler procedure than coronary bypass surgery. Your healthcare provider inserts a balloon catheter (a flexible tube) into a blocked artery in your heart to unblock it.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat.
- Be as physically active as you can.
- Check with your provider about what kind of exercise is right for you.
- If you are a smoker, get help to quit smoking now
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly
- Do things to help your mood and emotions, and learn how to cope with and reduce stress.