Angina is a common symptom of something called coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease means your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina presents as chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle.
Angina can also be referred to as Angina Pectoris, which is derived from the latin word 'angina' meaning "infection of the throat", the greek word 'ankhone' meaning "strangling" and the and the latin word 'pectus' meaning "chest". So it can be translated to "a strangling feeling in the chest".
Angina may be stable or unstable:
Stable angina: (persistent, recurring chest pain that usually occurs with exertion)
Unstable angina: (sudden, new chest pain — or a change in the pattern of previously stable angina — that may signal an impending heart attack)
A third, a rare type of angina called variant angina (also called Prinzmetal's angina) is caused by a coronary artery spasm.
Angina is relatively common, but can be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain, such as the pain or discomfort of indigestion. If you have unexplained chest pain, seek medical attention right away.
Angina symptoms include:
The chest pain and discomfort common with angina may be described as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. Some people with angina symptoms describe angina as feeling like a vice is squeezing their chest, or feeling like a heavy weight has been placed on their chest.
The severity, duration and type of angina can vary. It's important to recognize if you have new or changing chest pain. New or different symptoms may signal a more dangerous form of angina (unstable angina) or a heart attack.
Stable angina is the most common form of angina and typically occurs with exertion and goes away with rest. If chest pain is a new symptom for you, it's important to see your health care provider to find out what's causing your chest pain and to get proper treatment. If your stable angina gets worse or changes, becoming unstable, seek medical attention immediately.
Occurs even at rest
A woman's angina symptoms can be different from the classic angina symptoms. For example, a woman may have chest pain that feels like a stabbing, pulsating or sharp form of chest pain rather than the more typical vise-like pressure. Women are also more likely to experience symptoms, such as nausea, shortness of breath or abdominal pain. These differences may lead to delays in seeking treatment.
Angina is caused by reduced blood flow to your heart muscle. Your blood carries oxygen, which your heart muscle needs to survive. When your heart muscle isn't getting enough oxygen, it causes a condition called ischemia.
The most common cause of reduced blood flow to your heart muscle is coronary artery disease (CAD). Your heart (coronary) arteries can become narrowed by fatty deposits called plaques. This is called atherosclerosis.
This reduced blood flow is a supply problem — your heart is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. You may wonder why you don't always have angina if your heart arteries are narrowed due to fatty buildup. This is because during times of low oxygen demand — when you're resting, for example — your heart muscle may be able to get by on the reduced amount of blood flow without triggering angina symptoms. But when you increase the demand for oxygen, such as when you exercise, this can cause angina.
Like any disease, even if there is no cure, there is almost always something you can do to manage it and take control. There are three main areas involved in the treatment of any disease:
For information on medicines and therapies relevant to Angina, make an appointment at Lynch's pharmacy, Douglas, Cork.
Learn all about the drugs used to treat the disease and any complementary medicines or therapies proven to help. Equip yourself with the tools to manage the condition and not be managed by it.
Certain adjustments may be needed to get on with your life, and often, some simple tips and advice can go a long way to making these changes.
When you come to an Intervene clinic we give you any information available to make your life easier and enable you to live with your condition.
1. Angina- A Comprehensive Review http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/angina/DS00994
2. What is Angina?- National Heart and Lung Blood Institute Diseases and Conditions Index http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Angina/Angina_WhatIs.html
If you would like to know the latest treatment and management strategies, using conventional and scientifically backed complementary medicine and therapies, plus an assortment of helpful tips, hints and lifestyle remedies which will improve your overall quality of life, then call into our pharmacy and we'll be delighted to help.