Angina is pain in the chest area usually caused by the heart not receiving enough blood or oxygen. There are three types of angina: stable angina, which is the most common, unstable angina, and variant angina. All types are very similar. Angina typically involves chest pain and/or discomfort; it can also include nausea, hot flashes, anxiety, fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness. The pain or discomfort has been described as a tightness, squeezing, or a pressure on the chest, sometimes as a burning feeling, and it sometimes radiates through the neck, back, arms, teeth and/or jaws, and other areas of the body as well. Some people become very worried when experiencing angina because many symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack.
Stable angina is the most common type of this recurring pain some people experience. This develops when your heart is working harder, such as when exercising, but usually only lasts a few minutes. It could also be set off by some emotional distress. It could be confused with or feel like indigestion, and it could spread to your arms, back, neck, jaws, and other nearby areas. These symptoms tend to alleviate when you rest or use angina medication that you’ve been prescribed.
While stable angina is a serious condition and ought to be checked with several tests immediate if you suspect you might have it, unstable angina is even more serious. It can occur unexpectedly, even at rest, and is usually more painful and severe than stable angina and include pains that last longer than just a few minutes, sometimes lasting upwards of half an hour of intense pain. Unstable angina might not respond to your normal medications and will definitely need to be examined by a physician. This type of angina can potentially signal a heart attack, and is usually a precursor to one. Variant angina is very similar to unstable angina in that it might be more severe and occur even while at rest.
MedicineNet.com reveals that the “most common cause of angina is coronary artery disease. A less common cause of angina is spasm of the coronary arteries.” Doctors need to test what is causing the pain in the chest to rule out other illnesses when angina is suspected. Someone who is worried they have angina could instead be suffering from pneumonia, aortic dissection, pleuritis, pericarditis, nerve issues, anxiety and panic attacks, shingles, or other conditions.
Angina can cause damage to the heart, so it’s necessary to seek treatment for this serious condition. There are several tests that will be used to determine whether the patient has angina. Some tests that may be conducted include exercise stress test (electrocardiogram/ECG), echocardiography, and coronary cardiography. Doctors may also perform X-rays and other tests to determine if the patient should be diagnosed as having angina.
There are several treatment options available for this condition. One treatment option can be as simple as getting more rest, depending upon the severity of one’s angina. Surgery may be necessary. Medications such as nitroglycerin, beta blockers, or others may be prescribed to those suffering from angina.
Eating a healthy diet of whole grains, plenty of vegetables and fruits, and low-fat, unprocessed foods is best. This can help you avoid heart problems as well as angina. If you suspect you might have angina, don’t wait to get it checked out. It could be angina, which is a serious condition that could damage your heart, or it could be another condition, but it needs a diagnosis. Don’t wait until irreparable damage is done. Health is not worth taking a chance with!
MedicineNet.com: Angina Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Information
Angina Pectoris: Health Encyclopedia and Reference
Angina: Symptoms – MayoClinic.com
Health Newsflash: Angina Symptoms, Causes & Treatment