Coronary Artery Disease

Angina- types, causes, symptoms, and treatments

Angina is chest pain accompanied by pressure, squeezing, or pain sensation. This occurs when the heart’s oxygen supply is inadequate in one area. While it is a reasonably common condition, it can be challenging to distinguish it from other types of chest pain, such as indigestion pain or pain brought on by a panic episode, or a heart attack.

In this article, we will go into great detail about angina, including its types, causes, warning signs, symptoms to look out for, and treatments.

What is Angina?

It is a particular type of chest pain is when there’s reduced blood supply to the heart. Your heart muscle is not receiving enough oxygen when there is a lack of blood flow. Physical exertion or emotional stress can typically start the pain. You can check Chest pain causes, symptoms and treatment.

People have often described the pain associated with it as a massive weight resting on the chest. Some other words used to describe this pain are squeezing, pressure, weight, tightness, or discomfort in the chest. Sometimes the pain may start suddenly, and when this happens, you should visit your medical facility for a check-up.

Types of Angina

We will discuss many types of this chest pain below so you can know the different types and symptoms. Stable type is the most common and is brought on by coronary artery disease. Severe or unexpected type is more serious and indicates a heart attack, necessitating quick medical intervention.

The types include;

  1. Stable Angina: It is the most prevalent type is (angina pectoris). Exertion usually triggers it and typically subsides with rest or medicine. This type, for instance, might cause pain during physical activity. Pain from it is predictable and frequently comparable to chest pain from earlier bouts. You can determine the pattern based on what you’re doing when you experience pain in your chest. The average duration of chest pain is five minutes or less.
  • Unstable Angina: This type starts abruptly and worsens with time. This type can lead to a heart attack. It has no predictable pattern and typically strikes while you are at rest. The pain lasts more than five minutes and could worsen with time. The symptoms might not get better with only rest and medicine. Atherosclerosis, a barrier that prevents blood from reaching the heart, is the leading cause. Anyone experiencing it should seek immediate medical care.
  • Microvascular angina: In addition to coronary microvascular disease, this type can also occur. Microvascular type affects the smallest coronary arteries. When compared to stable type, microvascular type is more chronic. It frequently lasts more than ten minutes and occasionally for up to thirty.
  • Variant angina: Also known as Prinzmetal type, this chest pain is brought on by a cardiac artery spasm that momentarily restricts blood flow. The primary symptom of this type is severe chest pain. It usually happens in cycles while you’re sleeping or resting. Medication may be able to reduce the pain. Cold exposure, stress, medication side effects, smoking, and cocaine usage are all potential triggers. Despite being chronic, the illness can be controlled with medicine.

Causes of Angina

Reduced blood supply to the heart is the primary cause of angina.

  1. Angina is most frequently brought on by coronary artery disease (CAD). When plaque (fatty deposits) accumulates in your coronary arteries, which carry blood to your heart, it causes less blood to flow. Your heart’s blood flow is reduced due to these arteries’ narrowing or hardening.
  • A condition known as the coronary microvascular disease affects the walls of the tiny blood veins that branch out from your coronary arteries.
  • When your coronary arteries repeatedly contract and then relax, it results in coronary artery spasms. These spams momentarily restrict the blood flow to your heart. Coronary spasms can occur even in people without coronary artery disease.

The heart muscle cannot function correctly if blood cannot supply oxygen to the heart. This is what leads to angina. Many people also ask Can caffeine cause Chest pain.

Symptoms

A person with angina may experience

  • chest-related sensations of tightness, weight, pressure, or compression.
  • A burning pain began behind the breastbone and spread across the chest.
  • The pain extends to the teeth, neck, jaw, arms, shoulders, throat, or back.
  • indigestion
  • weakness
  • heartburn
  • perspiration, nausea, and shortness of breath.

These symptoms can last for a while, depending on it’s type.

Symptoms in women

Women are more prone to encounter the following symptoms:

  • exhaustion,
  • shortness of breath,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • back pain.

Treatments

The treatments seek to lessen pain and discomfort, stop symptoms, and lower the chance of a heart attack. The following are the treatments your doctor may recommend:

Changes to lifestyle

Your heart’s health can significantly improve with a change in your lifestyle.

  • Take care of your weight.
  • Find out how to manage or prevent stress.
  • Your cholesterol should be checked.
  • When your body demands it, take a rest.
  • Give up smoking.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Consume a heart-healthy balanced diet.

Medicine

To help manage angina, your doctor may recommend drugs such as;

  • Nitrates work by relaxing and expanding blood arteries to prevent or lessen it’s severity.
  • Medication for blood pressure.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Antiplatelet medications to help reduce the risk of blood clots
  • Nitroglycerin

Risk factors

The following are risk factors that may increase your chance of developing angina.

  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Anemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Overuse of hard drugs and alcohol
  • Age
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammation
  • Heart valve disease

You should also check these 18 warning signs of a weak heart.

Conclusion

Angina is a condition that happens when the heart receives insufficient blood flow. The most frequent type is stable type, which is not life-threatening; nonetheless, the chest pain associated with this condition can linger for up to 5 minutes. In contrast, unstable type is a medical emergency that can result in a heart attack. Exercise and a heart-healthy lifestyle can help treat this. If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack, call the ambulance immediately.

FAQs

Is angina life-threatening?

Although stable type is not fatal, it is a warning that the arteries providing blood to your heart muscle are becoming more constricted. On the other hand, if it is unstable, you run a higher chance of developing more severe conditions like a heart attack.

What’s the difference between anxiety pain and angina?

Pain from angina often radiates to the neck and shoulders. Hyperventilation and anxiety-related chest pain are typically more concentrated close to the heart. Though not always, anxiety-related chest symptoms are typically more intense.

Can I get rid of angina naturally?

Stable type can be treated more effectively with the proper diet and exercise. Making quick, simple, and minor improvements to your lifestyle will help you feel better.

How long does Angina’s chest pain last?

While unstable type may continue for 10 to 15 minutes, stable type typically lasts for 5 minutes. Exercise, emotional stress, large meals, and extremely cold or hot temperatures could all trigger it.

Dr Sanam shakya

Dr. Sanam Shakya is a licensed MBBS doctor working as a medical officer under the emergency department in Karnali Province Hospital, Surkhet, Nepal.Dr. Shakya's interests are intensive trauma care, emergency medicine, and internal fixation surgeries. He spends a considerable amount of time inpatient''s healthcare.
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