Patient's Complete Guide to Angina

Overview of Angina

Angina (انجائنا) is the pain or pressure in the chest area that usually arises when there is reduced blood flow to the muscles of the heart. The condition is often accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath. The pain can travel to other areas such as your neck, arms, shoulder, and jaw.

Angina is nothing serious but tells you about your risk of suffering from heart troubles such as coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Signs and Symptoms of Angina

Some of the common symptoms of angina include:

  • Chest pain (dull or heavy)
  • Pressure in chest cavity
  • Pain in other nearby areas such as arm, shoulder, neck, jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Burning sensation similar to indigestion
  • Fatigue

Types of Angina

There are four different types of angina that are important to know about. These include:

  • Stable Angina: This is also known as angina pectoris. Stable angina usually comes from intense physical activity such as workouts etc. This type of angina attack usually lasts for a few minutes and can be cured with medication.
  • Unstable Angina: This is a relatively dangerous form of angina. This type of angina doesn’t involve any physical exertion and doesn’t follow a defined pattern. Generally, it is difficult to cure unstable angina with physical rest or medicine.
  • Microvascular Angina: Microvascular angina is the type of angina indicating coronary microvascular disease. This type of angina is relatively more persistent than stable angina.
  • Variant Angina: This type of angina usually occurs when your body is in a resting phase. This is a chronic condition however, medication can help here.

Causes of Angina

Angina is caused by the limited oxygen supply to the muscles of the heart. There are many underlying causes of angina such as heart troubles. These include:

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): This is one of the most common causes of angina. CAD occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the heart muscles due to the buildup of plaque in the coronary artery. Sometimes reduced or interrupted blood flow to the penis can be the cause of erectile dysfunction. This could be due to blockage of blood vessels that can come from several vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.
  • Coronary Microvascular Disease (CMD): This is also known as small artery disease that is one of the leading causes of angina. CMD results in the blockage of small vessels that branch from the coronary artery and this results in angina.
  • Spasms: Sometimes coronary spasms can also result in temporary blockage of the coronary artery that results in angina.

Risk Factors of Angina

Given below are certain risk factors that can increase your risk of suffering from angina. These include:

  • Excessive body weight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Raised cholesterol levels
  • Genetics
  • Age (>45 for males, >55 for females)
  • Stress
  • Medication
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Existing medical conditions (heart disease, low blood pressure, diabetes, anemia)

Complications of Angina

Angina increases your chances of suffering from cardiac arrest and heart attack in the future. So, it is really important to address the condition and acquire immediate medical treatment.

Prevention

You can prevent angina by following good lifestyle practices and taking care of your health. These include:

  • Management of body weight
  • Working out regularly
  • Get rid of stress
  • Eat healthy food
  • Quit smoking and alcohol
  • Avoid overuse of medications

Diagnosis

Your physician can take the following step for the diagnosis of angina. These include:

  • Medical History: By taking medical history into account, your physician tries to get an idea of your overall condition. This includes the question regarding your symptoms, existing risk factors, and your family history of heart problems. It can help him to predict your chances of suffering from angina.
  • ECG/EKG (Electrocardiogram): Through ECG/EKG, activity patterns of your heart (heart rhythm, electrical activity) are monitored.
  • Stress Level Test: By monitoring your stress level your physician can determine your risk of suffering from a cardiac ailment. These stress tests measure the performance of your heart while you are doing any physical activity or at rest.
  • Blood Tests: Different blood tests are also part of the diagnosis of any underlying condition that can reveal your cardiac health. Among these blood tests, Complete Blood Count (CBC) and enzyme tests are especially important.
  • Imaging: Other than blood tests, image tests are also important. Some of the commonly performed image tests include cardiac MRI or cardiac CT scan. Other than these, advanced imaging techniques such as coronary angiography are also used to visualize the interior of your blood vessels.

Treatment of Angina | When to Consult a Doctor

Here are some of the common treatment options for angina.

1- Medications

Medications are one of the best treatment options for angina. A variety of medications are considered helpful including:

  • Anti Clotting Drugs - These medicines prevent the formation of blood clots
  • Nitrates -Nitrates medicine can widen the blood vessels that carry blood to your heart muscles
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medicines - These medicines such as aspirin result in thinning of your blood to ensure the smooth blood flow through the heart vessels
  • Beta Blockers - These beta-blockers reduces the activity of adrenaline hormone thus resulting in a slower heartbeat, relaxed blood vessels and improved blood flow to your heart muscles
  • Calcium Channel Blockers - Also known as calcium antagonists are the medicines that result in widened and relaxed blood vessels.
  • Statins - Statins help to lower the blood cholesterol level. they work by limiting the formation of cholesterol and also result in the absorption of accumulated cholesterol by your body.

Note: Consult your doctor before taking any medications as these medicines can bring along some effects.

2- Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can help to prevent the severity and frequency of angina attacks, Some of these lifestyle changes include:

  • Maintenance of a healthy weight
  • Stress management
  • Physical activity
  • Quit smoking

3- Surgical Treatments

When medicines and lifestyle changes are not helpful, then surgical procedures can help you with the management of the condition. Here are common surgical procedures that are helpful in this regard: 

  • Angioplasty and Stent Insertion: In angioplasty, your narrowed blood vessel (coronary artery) is widened by inserting a balloon that is inflated to widen the blood vessels. This widening is followed by stent insertion that keeps the artery open.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG): In this surgery, a section of the blood vessel is grafted to bypass the narrowed heart artery. This provides an alternative route for blood circulation and ensures smooth blood flow.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Angina

Dr. Muhammad Kashif Zafar, Cardiologist
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Dr. Tariq Shafi, Cardiologist
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Dr. Tariq Shafi

Speciality for Angina

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