Angina: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications

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Angina: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Prevention

What is angina

The term angina is used for chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. Angina is commonly described as pressure, heaviness, tightness, or pain in your chest. Angina can be a recurring problem or a sudden onset.

Types of Angina –

What is the type of angina?

There are 2 types of angina –

  1. Stable angina is the most common type of angina. You may see a similarity or a pattern in stable angina pain. Tracking stable angina allows you to control your symptoms more easily. It is also called Angina Pectoris.
  2. Unstable angina is another type of angina. It happens suddenly and gets worse with the passage of time. This can eventually lead to a heart attack.

Although stable angina is less severe than unstable angina, it can be painful and uncomfortable. Both types of angina are usually symptoms of an underlying heart problem, so contact the doctor as soon as you notice symptoms of angina.

Symptoms of Angina –

What are the symptoms of angina?

  • Pain in the chest.
  • Burning sensation in the chest.
  • Restlessness.
  • Feeling of heaviness in chest.
  • Tightness.
  • Pressure.
  • Shrinkage.
  • You are likely to have pain behind the chest, but it can also spread to your shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.

Sometimes it is considered a pain of gas. Men feel pain in their chest, neck, and shoulders and women may feel discomfort in their abdomen, neck, jaw, throat, or back. You may also have difficulty breathing, sweating, or feeling dizzy. One study found that women use words such as pressure or contusion to describe angina pain.

Causes of Angina –

Why does angina occur?

Angina is caused by low blood flow to your heart muscle. The oxygen present in your blood is essential for the survival of your heart muscle. When your heart muscle does not get enough oxygen, it causes ischemia.

The most common cause of reduced blood flow to your heart muscle is Coronary Artery Disease-CAD. Your heart (coronary) arteries may become constricted as the plaques accumulate. This is called atherosclerosis.

There are the following reasons for both types of angina –

Stable angina: Stable angina usually starts due to physical exertion. In addition to physical activity, other factors, such as emotional stress, cold temperatures, heavy food, and smoking, can also narrow the arteries and trigger angina.

Unstable angina: The breakdown of fat-rich plaques in a blood vessel can lead to the formation of blood clots due to which can block the blood flow in the blood vessels.

Prevention of Angina –

How can angina be prevented?

  • Quit Smoking
  • Monitor and control other health conditions, such as high BP, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight (ideal weight).
  • Keeping stress level low.
Angina: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications
Angina: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications

Diagnosis of Angina –

How is angina diagnosed?

To diagnose angina, the doctor will perform your physical examination and ask for your symptoms.

There are several tests your doctor may perform to help confirm angina:

  • Electrocardiogram – ECG or EKG.
  • Stress testing.
  • Echocardiogram.
  • Nuclear stress test.
  • Chest X-ray.
  • Blood test.
  • Coronary angiography.
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Treatment of Angina –

What is the treatment of angina?

Your treatment depends on how much damage has been done to your heart. People with mild angina pain can improve blood flow and control symptoms by taking medications and lifestyle changes.

Your doctor can give you such medicines:

  • Help to spread the blood vessels so that there is better blood flow to the heart.
  • Reduce heart workload.
  • Relax blood vessels.
  • Prevent blood clots from forming.

If medicines are not enough, you may need to seek surgery help:

Angioplasty/stenting: Doctors use a thin tube – inside which a small balloon is present. They carry this tube through the blood vessel to your heart. Then, to improve blood flow, inflate the balloon inside the narrowed artery and widen it. A small tube (called a stent) can be left inside the artery to keep it open. The process usually takes 2 hours. You may have to be hospitalized for one night.

Coronary artery bypass grafting – CABG, or bypass surgery: Surgeons use healthy arteries or veins from another part of your body in place of blocked or narrowed blood vessels. You may need to be hospitalized for up to a week after this.

Complications of Angina –

What complications can cause angina?

  • Angina pain can make some normal activities (such as walking) difficult and uncomfortable.
  • The most dangerous complication caused by angina is a heart attack.

Dieting in Angina –

  • Avoid foods with high amounts of sodium (salt).
  • Avoid foods that contain saturated fat, and partially hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated fat.
  • Do not eat fried food.
  • Eat fewer foods containing cheese, cream, or eggs.

What to eat in angina –

Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Choose lean protein, such as skinless chicken, fish, and beans.
Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt.