What is Angina? Angina Symptoms, Causes, Types and Treatment

The Average Weight of a Person’s Heart can be up to 415 grams, which can be more or less according to age, gender and health conditions. The heart of a few grams is very important for our life, but this heart of a few grams can easily become a victim of many diseases. Angina is one of the various disorders that affect the heart. Angina is a serious Heart Related Disease, about which we will talk in detail in this article. In this article, we will learn about the Symptoms of Angina, Causes of Angina, Types of Angina and Treatment of Angina.

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Understanding Angina: Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

Angina is a form of chest discomfort that develops when the heart’s blood supply is compromised. The Symptoms of Angina include a tightness, heaviness, pressure, squeezing, and discomfort in the chest. Angina is sometimes referred to as ischemic chest pain or angina pectoris. A sign of coronary artery disease is angina.

The pain caused in this heart disease occurs repeatedly and it is an emergency problem, in which case the doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. Once you’ve experienced angina, it’s possible that you may continue to have it. Additionally, the variety of its forms makes it much more severe.

What is Angina, Types of Angina?

There are mainly four types of angina, which are described below. The types of heart disease depend on the cause.

1. Stable Angina

The most typical type of angina is stable angina. Rest or angina medicine typically helps it go away after an exercise (training). Angina, for instance, may cause pain while you are walking uphill or in cold temperatures. Discomfort from stable angina is predictable and frequently resembles chest pain from earlier bouts. The average duration of chest discomfort is five minutes or less. The pain may last longer if the condition is severe, but this is a rare occurrence during the course of the condition.

2. Unstable Angina (A Medical Emergency)

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Unstable angina is unpredictable and occurs at rest. In this type of angina, the pain gets worse even when you are not doing any physical activity that causes the pain. It is usually severe and lasts longer than stable angina, perhaps 20 minutes or longer. This type of pain does not go away with rest and taking common angina medicines. If blood flow does not improve, the heart becomes deficient in oxygen and a heart attack occurs.

3. Variant Angina (Prinzmetal Angina)

Variant angina, also called Prinzmetal angina, is not caused by coronary artery disease. It is caused by a spasm in the arteries of the heart that temporarily reduces blood flow. The primary symptom of variant angina is severe chest discomfort. It frequently happens in cycles, generally after extended periods of rest (such as sleep or overnight), and angina medication can help to reduce the discomfort.

4. Refractory Angina

Refractory angina is a condition that often persists despite a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.

What are the Symptoms of Angina?

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Any of the following problems can occur in the chest due to the condition of angina:-

  1. Feeling the problem of being squeezed.
  2. Feeling pressured.
  3. Inertia in the chest.
  4. Feeling of chest tightness.
  5. Burning or pain in the chest, usually starting behind the breastbone.
  6. Feeling pain in neck and throat.
  7. Pain in hand and shoulder.
  8. Pain in the upper part of the back.
  9. Continuous pain in the jaw.
  10. Spread of pain in the teeth.

Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, the following other possible symptoms may also appear:-

  1. Sour belching.
  2. Burning sensation in the stomach.
  3. Feeling weak.
  4. Continuous sweating.
  5. Having the problem of nausea.
  6. Cramps.
  7. Difficulty in breathing.
    Depending on the kind of angina, these symptoms might last for a while. Anyone who experiences severe or persistent chest pain should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Angina in Women.

Women’s angina symptoms might differ from the typical angina symptoms. These differences can lead to a delay in seeking treatment. For instance, although chest discomfort is frequently experienced by women with angina, it may not be the sole symptom or the one that affects them the most. Women can also have such symptoms: –

  1. Feeling of pain in the neck and throat.
  2. Back pain in the higher region.
  3. Constant pain in the jaw.
  4. Having the problem of nausea.
  5. Difficulty in breathing.
  6. Stomach irritation or abdominal pain or both together.
  7. Stabbing pain instead of pressure in the chest.

What are the Causes of Angina?

Decreased blood supply to the heart muscle is the main cause of angina. Blood does the job of carrying oxygen, which the heart muscle needs to survive. Ischemia is a medical term for the condition that results from the heart muscle not receiving enough oxygen.

Coronary Artery Disease is the most typical cause of decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. The heart (coronary) arteries can become narrowed by fatty deposits called plaque, which is called atherosclerosis.

A blood clot or plaque fragment breaking off in a blood vessel can swiftly restrict or stop blood flow through a constricted artery. This can cause a sudden and severe decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle.

During times of low oxygen demand – while at rest, for example – the heart muscle may still be able to function on a reduced amount of blood flow without triggering angina symptoms. But when the demand for oxygen increases, such as during exercise, angina can occur.

How to Diagnose Angina?

If you think you have angina, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms of angina and ask you about your family heart disease history, as well as whether you have or have ever had any heart disease. Along with all these, the doctor may ask to get the following tests done as per the current situation:-

1. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

The electrical activity of the heart is measured by this rapid and painless examination. Sticky patches (electrodes) are placed on the chest and sometimes on the arms and legs. The electrodes are connected by wires to a computer, which shows the test results. An ECG may show that the heart is beating too fast, too slow or not at all. In order to determine whether blood flow through the heart is slowed or blocked, your healthcare professional may also examine irregularities in cardiac rhythm.

2. Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray shows the condition of the heart and lungs. To find out if other problems are the source of the symptoms of chest discomfort and to check for an enlarged heart, a chest X-ray may be performed.

3. Blood Tests

Some heart enzymes enter the bloodstream when the heart muscle is damaged, such as from a heart attack. These chemicals can be found via a blood test for cardiac enzymes.

4. Stress Test

Sometimes it is easier to diagnose angina when the heart is working harder. A treadmill walk or stationary bike ride during a stress test often entails having the heart rate monitored. Other tests may be done at the same time as the stress test. If you can’t exercise, you may be given medicines that mimic the effects of exercise on the heart.

5. Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create images of the heart in motion. These pictures can show how blood flows through the heart. A stress test could include an echocardiography.

6. Nuclear Stress Test

A nuclear stress test helps measure blood flow to the heart muscle at rest and during stress. Similar to a standard stress test, a nuclear stress test involves injecting a radioactive tracer into the patient’s blood. The movement of the tracer in the heart’s arteries is seen using a specialised scanner. Areas with little or no amount of the tracer indicate poor blood flow.

7. Cardiac Computerized Tomography (CT)

For this test, you usually lie down on a table inside a donut-shaped machine. The device’s internal X-ray tube rotates around the body to take images of the chest and heart. A cardiac CT scan can show whether the heart is enlarged or if any heart arteries are narrowed.

8. Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This test uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the heart. You usually lie on a table inside a long, tubelike machine that produces detailed images of the heart’s structure and blood vessels.

9. Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography uses X-ray imaging to examine the inside of the blood vessels of the heart. It is a procedure in the broader category of cardiac catheterization.

How Can Angina be Treated?

Angina can be treated in a number of ways, but before starting the treatment, it is very important to assess the current condition, as The sort of treatment to be administered to the patient depends on their condition.

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The following options are available for treatment when a patient has angina:-

1. Medications

If the angina sufferer adopts new lifestyle habits, such as exercising and eating well, However, if after all of this there is still no improvement in angina and heart health, then medication may be needed. These ingredients may be utilised in these medications: –

2. Nitrates

Nitrates are often used to treat angina. More blood can flow to the heart thanks to nitrates’ ability to relax and expand blood vessels. Nitroglycerin is the kind of nitrate that is most frequently used to treat angina. Under the tongue, a nitroglycerin pill is put. Your health care provider may recommend taking nitrates before activities that commonly trigger angina (such as exercise) or on a long-term preventive basis.

3. Aspirin

Aspirin reduces blood clotting, making it easier for blood to flow through narrowed heart arteries. Preventing blood clots can reduce the risk of heart attack. Do not start taking a daily aspirin without first talking to your health care provider.

4. Clot-Preventing Drugs

Clopidogrel (Plavix), Prasugrel (Efient) and Ticagrelor (Brilinta) – Some drugs make it less likely for blood platelets to stick together, so a blood clot doesn’t form. One of these medicines may be recommended if you can’t take aspirin.

5. Beta Blockers

Beta blockers cause the heart to beat more slowly and with less force, which lowers blood pressure. These drugs also relax the blood vessels, which improves blood flow.

6. Statins

Statins are drugs used to lower blood cholesterol. A risk factor for heart disease and angina is high cholesterol. The chemical the body requires to produce cholesterol is blocked by statins. They help prevent blockage in the blood vessels.

7. Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers, also called calcium antagonists, relax and widen blood vessels to improve blood flow.

8. Other Blood Pressure Medications

Other drugs that lower blood pressure include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, signs of heart failure, or chronic renal disease, your doctor could recommend one of these medications.

9. Ranolazine (Ranexa)

This medicine may be prescribed for chronic stable angina that does not get better with other medicines. It may be used alone or with other angina medicines, such as calcium channel blockers, beta blockers or nitroglycerin.

Therapies & Surgery for Angina:-

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To improve blood flow to the heart, Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP), a non-drug approach, may occasionally be suggested. With EECP, a blood pressure-type cuff is placed around the calves, thighs, and pelvis. EECP requires several treatment sessions. EECP may assist those with chronic, uncontrolled angina in reducing their symptoms (refractory angina).

1. Surgery and Procedures

An open-heart operation or a catheter technique may be required if dietary modifications, drugs, or other therapies are unable to relieve angina discomfort. Surgeries and procedures used to treat angina and coronary artery disease mainly include the following:-

2. Angioplasty with Stenting

During angioplasty, also called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a small balloon is inserted into the narrowed artery. The balloon is inflated to widen the artery, and then usually a small wire mesh coil (stent) is inserted to keep the artery open.

Angina risk is decreased or eliminated following angioplasty with stenting through improving blood flow to the heart. Angioplasty with stenting may be a good treatment option for people with unstable angina or if lifestyle changes and medications do not effectively treat chronic, stable angina.

Open-Heart Surgery (Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery)

During coronary artery bypass surgery, a vein or artery from elsewhere in the body is used to bypass a blocked or narrowed heart artery. The heart receives more blood after bypass surgery. It can be used as a therapy for both stable and unstable angina. It is done when there is no benefit from any other treatment method.

Preventions for Angina?

Any disease can be avoided rather than treated. Angina, which is a heart-related disease, can also be easily prevented. The following actions can be taken to avoid angina: –

1. Consume all types of nutrients and vitamins rich food, so that your heart will always be healthy.

2. If you are addicted to smoking then try to quit it or if you do not then avoid second hand smoking.

3. Do yoga or exercise every day. For this, you can take a daily walk or go to the gym.

4. Avoid taking stress. Some or the other situation comes in life due to which stress is inevitable, in such a situation, try to stay away from stress as much as possible. At the same time, you can also adopt meditation, music and diet for this.

5. If you are suffering from problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome, then keep all these conditions under control.

6. If you consume alcohol, beer or any other type of intoxicant, then it is best that you keep distance from them. If you are unable to accomplish this, start by cutting back on their number.

You can talk to your doctor for other remedies. They can help you more to avoid serious Heart Disease like angina depending on your health, lifestyle and where you live.

(Disclaimer: This article is for general information only. It is just to wake you up for your health purpose. Out intension is not to mislead or It cannot in any way be a substitute for any medicine or treatment. Always contact your doctor for more details.)

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