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Angina is a term used for chest pain is caused due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. Angina heart condition refers to a symptom of coronary artery disease. Also called angina pectoris, it is a recurring problem or a sudden, acute health concern. Angina is typically described as pressure, squeezing, tightness, heaviness or pain in your chest. It is a relatively common condition that can be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain like the discomfort of indigestion or pain. If you experience unexplained chest pain, then seek medical attention right away.
Types of Angina
There are 4 major types of angina are:
- Stable angina: Angina attacks are brought on by an obvious trigger like exercise and improve with medication and rest. This type of angina isn’t life threatening. However, it is a serious warning sign that you are at increased risk of developing a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.
- Unstable angina: Angina attacks are more predictable, occurring with no obvious trigger and continues despite resting. Some people develop unstable angina after previously having stable angina, while others experience it with no previous history of angina. It is considered as a medical emergency as it is a sign indicating that your heart function has suddenly and rapidly deteriorated thereby increasing your risk of stroke or heart attack.
- Variant angina: Also known as Prinzmetal’s angina, this type of angina is very rare. A spasm in a coronary artery causes this type of angina. Often, a variant angina occurs while you are at rest and the pain can be very severe. This type of angina usually happens between midnight and early morning. Medicines can relieve variant angina.
- Microvascular angina: This type of angina can be more severe and it may last longer than other types of angina. Medicines may not relieve the microvascular angina.
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Angina is caused by narrowing and hardening of the main blood vessels of the heart that limits the blood supply to this major organ. The most common cause of reduced blood flow to the heart is the coronary artery disease (CAD).
Depending on the types of angina, many factors may trigger angina pain.
- Stable angina: Physical exertion is the most common trigger of stable angina. The severely narrowed arteries may allow enough blood to reach the heart when the demand for oxygen is low. However, with physical exertion like climbing stairs or walking up a hill-the heart works harder and requires more oxygen.
Other triggers that causes stable angina include:
- Heavy meals
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to very hot or cold temperatures
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to cold
- Medicines that tighten or narrow the blood vessels
- Cocaine use
The risk factors for angina include: obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, stress, history of heart disease, high blood cholesterol and older age.
The symptoms related to angina include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain in your arms, jaw, neck, shoulder or back accompanied by chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Some people with angina symptoms may feel like a heavy weight has been placed on their chest while for others it may seem like indigestion. The severity, duration and the type of angina can vary. It is important to recognize if you have a changing chest discomfort as it may signal a more dangerous form of angina or a heart attack.
Angina is a symptom of an underlying heart problem and the type of angina pain can be a sign of how severe the CHD is and whether it is likely to cause a heart attack. If you have chest pain, your doctor will want to find out whether it’s stable or unstable angina. If you have unstable angina, then you may need emergency medical treatment to prevent a heart attack.
To diagnose a chest pain as a stable or unstable angina, your doctor will do a physical exam, ask you about the symptoms and your family history of CHD or other heart diseases.
Your doctor will ask you the following questions about your symptoms:
- What brings on the pain or discomfort and what relieves it?
- How often does the pain occur?
- What does the pain or discomfort feel like?
- Where do you feel the pain or discomfort?
- How long does the pain or discomfort last?
- How severe is the pain or discomfort?
If your doctor thinks you have unstable angina or your angina is related to serious heart condition, then he/she may recommend one or more tests:
EKG (Electrocardiogram): It is a simple, painless test to detect and record the electrical activity of the heart. It records the strength and timing of the electrical signals as they pass through the heart. This test shows how fast the heart is beating and its rhythm is steady or irregular. An EKG can show the signs of the heart damage due to CHD and previous or current heart attack. However, some people with angina, have normal EKG.
Chest X-ray: It takes the picture of the organs and structures inside your chest, like the heart, blood vessels and lungs. A chest X-ray can reveal the signs of a heart failure. It can also show the signs of lung disorders and other symptoms not related to CHD. However, this test isn’t enough to diagnose an angina.
Stress Testing: During the stress testing, you will be asked to exercise so that your heart work harder and beat faster while the heart tests are done. If you are not able to exercise, then medicines will be given to make your heart work hard and fast. When the heart is working faster, it needs more blood and oxygen. A plaque-narrowed arteries can’t supply enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your heart’s needs.
A stress test can show possible signs and symptoms of CHD like:
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
- Abnormal changes in your heart rate or blood pressure
- Abnormal changes in your heart rhythm or your heart’s electrical activity
Other diagnostic tests to detect angina heart condition include coronary angiography and cardiac catherization, blood tests and computed tomography angiography.
The main goal for angina treatments are:
- Reduce pain and discomfort and how often it occurs
- Prevent or lower your risk for heart attack and death by treating your underlying heart condition
Treatments for angina include the following:
Lifestyle changes: These are needed if your symptoms are mild and aren’t getting worse. Making the following lifestyle changes don’t control angina, but can help prevent the episodes of angina:
- Avoid large meals that leave you feeling stuffed if heavy meals trigger angina
- Slow down or take rest breaks if physical exertion triggers angina
- Try to avoid situations that upset if emotional stress causes angina
- Follow a healthy diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Being physically active
- Take all medicines as your doctor prescribes, especially if you have diabetes
Medicines: They are used for treatments only when your symptoms are mild and aren’t getting worse. The most common medicines used to treat angina are nitrates that help to relax and widen the blood vessels. This allows more blood to flow to the heart, thereby reduces the workload of the heart. Nitroglycerin is the most commonly used nitrate for angina that dissolves under your tongue or between your cheek and gum is used to relieve the angina episode.
Other medicines that are used to treat angina include calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, anticoagulants, antiplatelet medicines. They help with:
- Slowing the heart rate
- Lowering the blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Relaxing the blood vessels
- Preventing the formation of blood clots
- Reduce strain on the heart
People with stable angina are advised to get annual flu shots.
Medical procedures: You will need a medical procedure to treat the underlying heart disease, if both the lifestyle changes and medicines don’t control angina. Angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) are commonly used to treat the heart disease.
- Angioplasty: It opens the blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. During this procedure, a thin tube with a balloon on the end is threaded through a blood vessel to the narrowed or blocked coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to push the plaque outward against the wall of the artery that widens it and restores the blood flow. It can improve the blood flow to your heart and relieve the chest pain. A small mesh tube called a stent is usually placed in the artery to help keep it open after the procedure.
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG): During CABG, healthy arteries or veins taken from other areas in your body are used to bypass your narrowed coronary arteries. The bypass surgery can improve the blood flow to your heart, relieve the chest pain and will possibly prevent a heart attack.
You need to work with your doctor to decide which treatment is better for you.
Cardiac rehabilitation: Your doctor may recommend a cardiac rehab for angina after CABG, angioplasty or a heart attack. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program that helps improve the health and well-being of people with heart problems. A cardiac rehabilitation team may include nurses, doctors, exercise specialists, dieticians or nutritionists, physical or occupational therapists and psychologists or other mental health specialists. It has two parts including exercise training, education, counseling and training.
Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy (EECP): It is helpful for some people who have angina. The large cuffs similar to the blood pressure cuffs are put on your legs. The cuffs are inflated and deflated in sync with your heartbeat. This therapy helps to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle that helps relieve angina. Typically, you’ll be given 1-hour treatments over 7 weeks.
Why Should You Treat Angina Heart Condition in India?
The treatments for angina heart condition in India is available at a reasonable price at top class hospitals with state of the art infrastructures. Indian hospitals have the latest advanced technology and modern equipments required for treating the cardiac conditions. Indian cardiologists are renowned all the world for their highly professional skills and experience in treating complex cardiac cases. India Cardiac Surgery Consultants help you find a good cardiologist by providing you expert advice and medical care. In order to find the right fit between you and your cardiologist, you’ll need to identify the possibilities and research the credentials to assess the capabilities of the doctor before deciding to get your treatments done with them.
- What does angina feel like?
- Angina symptoms are not the same for everyone. During an episode, most people feel pain or discomfort in their chest, arm, shoulder, back, neck, or jaw. Other people have different symptoms. Angina symptoms may include:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest, arm, shoulder, back, neck, or jaw
- Feeling short of breath
- Feeling tired
- Feeling lightheaded
- What triggers chronic angina?
- Angina may happen when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. Physical activity is the most common trigger. Stress, extreme temperatures, large meals, and cigarette smoking may also trigger an angina episode.
- How is angina diagnosed?
- To determine if your chest pain is angina, your cardiologist will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical and family history. Angina is usually a symptom of a heart problem, most often coronary heart disease (CHD). Your cardiologist may do tests to help tell how severe your heart condition is. Tests may include an electrocardiogram (EKG), treadmill exercise or other stress test, x-rays, blood tests, and imaging of the coronary arteries (angiogram).
- Can angina treatment reduce my symptoms?
- The goal of treatment of chronic angina is to:
- Reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort
- Allow a return to normal activities
If you still have angina even though you are being treated for it, speak with your cardiologist about treatment options.
- Can a person with angina exercise?
- Always talk with your cardiologist before you start an exercise program. Ask your cardiologist about an exercise program that is right for you.
- How do I make an appointment with the best cardiologist in India?
- All you have to do is send us your medical report and be rest assured. We will choose the best suitable surgeon for you, after consulting the experts.
If you are really seeking treatments for the Angina Heart Conditions in India, kindly fill up the form for a free consultation with our expert cardiologists. You will be provided with thorough analysis and suggestions regarding the treatments for Angina Heart Condition you are seeking for.
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