Angina is a form of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. Angina symptoms are usually pain or discomfort in the chest, which can feel either light, dull or heavy. Other angina symptoms can include pain triggered by physical exercise or stress, pain that spreads to the arms, jaw or back, and pain that stops after a few minutes of rest. Angina symptoms aren’t usually life-threatening, but without angina treatment, angina symptoms can get worse. Angina symptoms are also a sign that you’re at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
What is Angina Caused By?
Typically, angina is caused by a build-up of fatty substances in the arteries that causes them to narrow. Contributing factors generally are an unhealthy diet, smoking, lack of exercise, family history and age. Angina treatment is varied, and it will depend on the type of angina you’re suffering with. There are two main types of angina: stable and unstable.
What is Angina? The Stable Type
Stable Angina is the most common form of Angina. With this type, attacks are more common, and they usually have a discernable trigger (like exercise or stress). They also stop within a few minutes of resting.
What is Angina? The Unstable Type
Unstable Angina is rarer and more serious. Attacks are more unpredictable, and often, it’s challenging to find a trigger. These attacks can also continue after resting.
What is Angina Treatment?
Angina treatment can prevent angina symptoms and reduce the risk of complications like heart attacks and strokes. Typically, most sufferers will need to take several medicines, and in some cases, surgery may be suggested.
If you have stable angina, you’ll be given a Glyceryl Trinitrate (GTN) medicine to take when experiencing an attack. GTN can also avoid attacks if you need to perform a trigger activity, like exercise. You’ll also need to take other angina treatment medicines to control your angina symptoms. These could be beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers.
If you have unstable angina, you’ll be given medicines to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes. This could be aspirin, clopidogrel or an injection of blood-thinning medication.
Angina treatment is often lifelong. Angina symptoms need to be controlled, and with the proper angina treatment, you can live a long and everyday life. This usually means you’ll need to continue taking your medication; however, your medical professional may suggest surgery.
What Is Angina Surgery?
If medications aren’t controlling your angina symptoms, you may need surgery. There are two main options:
- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
- Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Insertion
The type of surgery you require will depend on the severity of your angina symptoms, the extent of angina treatment tried in the past, and your personal circumstances. A medical professional will help you decide the right option for you.
What is Angina? - Prognosis
With angina treatment, most sufferers continue to relatively everyday lives, and the prognosis is promising. With lifestyle changes and the appropriate angina treatment, it’s possible to stop attacks and reduce the risk of future complications.