Angina: Causes and Treatment

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Have you ever felt pressure in your chest? What about an odd squeezing sensation? If so, you might have angina. For many people, angina is a sign that something is wrong and that you might be at risk of a heart attack or other life-threatening heart problems. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention if you think you might be experiencing the pain associated with this condition.

Believe it or not, there is a lot your doctor can do to stop angina, including prescribing medications and recommending lifestyle changes. In more serious cases, you could need surgery. Your doctor might recommend using a stent, which is a small tube used to prop open arteries. If you think you might have angina, give your doctor a call today.

Causes of Angina

Angina occurs when there isn’t enough blood flowing through part of your heart. Blood flow can decrease over time as artery blockages form that prevent oxygen-rich blood from traveling to the heart. Many artery blockages occur due to the buildup of plaque, a fatty substance that collects along artery walls. Too much buildup gets in the way of blood flow, causing angina and other heart issues. Other causes of chest pain including the following:

  • Pulmonary Embolism: This refers to blockages in the arteries in the lungs.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This occurs when the heart thickens or becomes enlarged.
  • Pericarditis: This occurs when the sac around the heart swells up.
  • Aortic Dissection: This is when the wall of the aorta becomes torn.
  • Aortic Stenosis: This is when a valve in the primary part of the heart narrows and becomes smaller.

Symptoms of Angina

There are many symptoms of angina that many confuse with having a heart attack. It’s important to note that chest pain affects everyone differently, though. Oftentimes, angina pain flares up behind the breastbone, although it can spread out around your neck, shoulders, arms, throat, and back. Some symptoms may include:

Diagnosis of Angina

To have your condition properly diagnosed, you will have to meet with your doctor for a physical exam and consultation. During your appointment, your doctor will ask about any symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as certain risk factors. If needed, you will undergo additional tests, including the following:

Treatment for Angina

Your treatment options depend on how damaged your heart and arteries are. In mild cases of angina, lifestyle changes and medications are usually enough to improve blood flow and get any unpleasant symptoms under control. In more severe cases, you might need a stent or surgery.

Prognosis for Angina

If caught early enough, individuals with angina can go on to live a long life as long they follow a regime of medications and lifestyle changes. Even those with more serious stages of angina can combat the symptoms via surgery.