Angina Pectoris

Chest pain or pressure that is due to an obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries and does not allow enough blood to flow to the heart.

What is Angina?

If you’re at a Cardiologist’s office, you may have heard the term Angina Pectoris get thrown around a bit. Angina comes from the latin “angere – to strangle” and pectoris from “pectoral – the chest” so Angina Pectoris loosely translates into the strangling of the chest. This makes sense, and if you suffer from it you’ll most definitely understand how this terminology is derived.

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Angina is often characterized through pain or discomfort in the middle of the chest. It’s often caused by Coronary Heart Disease, which narrows the arteries near the chest. Complications like ischemia — the narrowing of the heart’s arteries — cause the heart to get less oxygen, often resulting in the onset of physical pain.

This pain is often described as pressure, fullness, or pressing, or squeezing right near the sternum/center of chest. This pain can also be felt near the neck, back and jaws.

When does angina occur?

Angina pectoris often occurs in times of physical or emotional stress. This is because the demand for oxygen in the body goes up with exertion, or when the heart muscle itself needs more blood, for instance. The blood is not supplied because of ischemia or damage to the nearby arteries. This creates an environment in the heart that lacks in oxygen, which can cause mild to severe discomfort.

However, Angina often lasts only for a few minutes and can go away with medication and/or rest. As Angina pectoris is common and very predictable, it is usually referred to as Stable Angina. However, having Stable Angina can mean you may develop Unstable angina in the near future.

Unstable Angina has the same symptoms of Angina, but it occurs randomly. It is also referred to as acute coronary syndrome, which means its onset is rapid and random. It often occurs at rest, and it should be treated as an emergency. Any continued chest pain or discomfort should be dealt with as such, because you may be having a heart attack. This puts you at risk for cardiac arrest and other dangerous circumstances.

Symptoms of Angina - The pain or discomfort:

  • Occurs under high stress or environments where the heart must work harder than it usually does
  • Doesn’t come as a surprise, and episodes of pain tend to be alike
  • Usually lasts a short time (5 minutes or less)
  • Is relieved by rest or medicine
  • May feel like gas or indigestion
  • May feel like chest pain that spreads to the arms, back, or other areas

Possible triggers of stable angina include:

  • Emotional stress
  • Exposure to very hot or cold temperatures
  • Heavy meals
  • Tobacco Use/Smoking

Types of Angina

There are three types of angina: Stable, Unstable, and Variant Angina.

  1. Stable angina is the most common type. It happens when the heart is working harder than usual, and it has a regular pattern. Rest and Medicine usually help
  2. Unstable angina is the most dangerous type. It can happen without trigger, so its onset is usually random. It is also a very good sign you may be at risk for a heart attack.
  3. Variant angina is rare. It is also known as Prinzmetal’s Angina. It happens because of vasospasms, which is a narrowing of the cardiac arteries near the heart.

Treatment of Angina

Immediate relief of angina is usually done through the supplementation of Nitroglycerin. But rest is also a great approach, so this type of chest discomfort is relieved with rest, nitroglycerin or both. Nitroglycerin is a chemical that relaxes coronary arteries and other blood vessels. This is useful because when angina occurs, the coronary arties are usually overloading the heart. Slowing the heart rate down is quintessential relief of any immediate symptoms.

To book a consultation click here or call 239-300–0586.

There are three types of angina: Stable, Unstable, and Variant Angina.

If you have stable angina and start getting chest pain more easily and more often, it could mean you’re developing unstable angina. Unstable Angina is a very dangerous condition, it’s imperative that you see your doctor if you notice your stable angina getting worse.

To treat unstable angina, your doctor will first have to identify which portion(s) of the coronary arteries is/are blocked. To do this, nontoxic dye is usually injected into the bloodstream and an MRI is taken. Depending on the degree of therapy, your doctor may suggest several different treatments.

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