If you have ever experienced a tightness in your chest that feels like squeezing, burning or suffocation, it could be angina.
Angina occurs when one or more coronary arteries fail to supply enough blood to a part of the heart that needs oxygen. The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 7 million Americans have angina. (1)
Angina attacks usually start intermittently when your heart needs oxygenated blood, such as exercise. According to the Texas Heart Institute, other causes of angina can be emotional stress, alcohol, heavy food exposure, smoking and extreme hot or cold temperatures. (2)
Although the pain often goes away with relief, angina is usually a symptom of a more serious heart disease, such as coronary heart disease or coronary microvascular disease (MVD).
Causes and Risk Factors of Recurring Chest Pain
Narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart can also cause angina, a condition called aortic stenosis. In addition, angina may be a symptom of coronary microvascular disease, a disease of the small arteries of the heart. (3)
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association looked at about 1,000 women with symptoms similar to angina and a major coronary artery obstruction. It was found that 26% of these patients had evidence of coronary microvascular dysfunction. This suggests that coronary MVD may play a role in the onset of the injury. (4)
According to the National Institutes of Health, this condition is also caused by low blood cells, aka anemia, or an overactive thyroid gland, called hyperthyroidism. (1)
Anyone at risk for heart disease or coronary microvascular disease is at risk for angina. Other risk factors for the condition include:
High blood pressure
What It’s Like to Experience an Attack
When plaque builds up and constricts the coronary arteries to reduce oxygenated blood flow, this can result in chest pain and discomfort.
According to the Texas Heart Institute, “classic” angina pain starts in the middle of your chest. From there it can spread to your left arm, neck, back, throat or jaw. You may also experience numbness in your arms, shoulders or wrists. (2)
There are four types of angina with different symptoms: stable, unstable, different and microvascular.
According to the American College of Cardiology, stable angina is chest pain or tightness caused by a high level of physical activity, such as walking or walking up a set of stairs. Stable angina can also be affected by stress as well as cold weather or eating large meals. (5)
Unstable angina, on the other hand, is more of an emergency that comes without any specific stimulus. You may find that you can’t walk up the stairs the first time because the chest pain is more intense and longer.
Unlike stable angina, different types of angina usually occur during rest periods, although these attacks can occur regularly throughout the day. According to the American College of Cardiology, this type of chest pain is caused by coronary arteries, which block the flow of blood to the heart. (5) It usually lasts a few minutes before leaving, but can also relieve various angina nitroglycerin.
Microvascular angina causes chest pain and discomfort without obvious obstruction in any coronary artery. According to the Texas Heart Institute, chest pain is caused by small blood vessels in the heart, arms and legs that are not working properly. This type of angina may be a sign of coronary microvascular disease. (2)
Angina attacks can look different in men and women. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women experience a sharp form of chest pain that can be less severe than men. Women may also experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. (6)
This is likely because men and women develop a variety of heart diseases: Men are more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD), while women are more likely to have microvascular disease. Is. (6)
An episode of angina usually lasts no more than a minute or two, although if the pain gets worse or lasts longer, you should seek medical help immediately.
If you have any type of chest pain, the AHA recommends consulting your doctor. They may ask about your symptoms, lifestyle, and family history of heart disease to determine if the symptom is part of a underlying problem. (7)
If your doctor thinks your angina is a sign of a more serious heart condition, they may perform an electrocardiogram, stress test, blood test, chest x-ray, coronary angiography, cardiac catheterization, or computerized tomography angiography. Heart disease.
How to Treat Angina
Treatment of angina may include medication or cardiac procedures. According to the AHA, medications prescribed by your doctor include:
Anti-platelet agents and dual anti-platelet therapy (DAPT) to prevent platelets from clotting with each other include aspirin and clopidogrel.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels to lower blood pressure.
Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) prevent ARBs from blocking blood vessels until they lower blood pressure.
This group of beta-blockers drugs lowers blood pressure. Beta-blockers are used to treat a number of heart diseases, including heart failure and stroke.
Diuretics are water tablets that reduce excess water and blood pressure in the body.
Vasodilators Vasodilators are drugs that work to open blood vessels, making blood flow more easily and lowering blood pressure. (8)
Depending on your heart condition and whether or not you have heart disease, you may have to undergo one of these cardiac procedures.
Artificial heart valve surgery
Transmyocardial revasculariization (TMR) (9)
How You Can Prevent Angina
The most important ways to avoid angina include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having regular heart checkups, and knowing the signs and symptoms of heart disease.
Eat a heart-healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, seafood, whole grains, and healthy fats, can lower LDL cholesterol and reduce heart disease mortality.
Have regular heart screenings. Heart health monitoring also includes screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight, blood glucose, smoking, physical activity and diet. If you have a family history of heart disease, you will need special screening. (7)
Exercising. The AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week, or 25 minutes of intense aerobic activity three days a week. (10)
Quit if you smoke. You can access a wealth of free resources, such as tools and tips, support groups, and the latest news for smoking addicts and their families, on smoking websites, the American Cancer Society, and disease control and prevention. Centers
Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure can hide on you because it usually has no symptoms and cannot be detected until it is measured. If your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg, AHA recommends having it checked every two years from the age of 20. (7)
Maintain healthy cholesterol levels. When you turn 20, AHA also recommends that you check your fasting lipoprotein profile (cholesterol) every six months. According to the Cleveland Clinic, your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg per dl (mg / dL), although if you are at risk for heart disease, your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol should be less than 100 mg / dL. Should be less. Your triglycerides should not exceed 150 mg / dL. (11)
Take steps to prevent diabetes. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, high blood glucose levels can put you at risk for developing diabetes, and untreated diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease. (12) The American Diabetes Association recommends screening type 2 diabetes in patients aged 45 and over, or in patients under 45 with high-risk factors. (13)
Maintain a healthy weight. Lumbar circumference and body mass index (BMI) should be measured every year at a healthcare event.