There are many people that suffer from angina each and every day. This refers to pain and discomfort that is most frequently felt in the chest area. Symptoms that are commonly experienced with angina include the following:
- An uncomfortable squeezing sensation in the chest
- The sensation of pressure and tightness
What some people are not aware of is angina can sometimes also be felt in other areas of the personís body as well. These include the back, shoulders, jaw, and the neck.
Answers to Questions Commonly Asked about Angina
Q: Are there certain people that have a higher likelihood of suffering from angina?
A: Angina is a condition that is normally experienced in men that are older than age 55, and women that are older than age 65. There are also other factors that make the risk of angina higher in some people. These risk factors include inactive lifestyles, cigarette smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, and those whose family has a history of premature cardiovascular disease.
IQ: What are the causes of angina?
A: Coronary artery disease is frequently the main cause for angina. During times when a person feels stressed or is exercising, the supply of oxygen flowing to the heart becomes blocked. This is because of the buildup of plaque that results in coronary arteries that are narrowed. The chest pains that are experienced are triggered by the heart muscleís lack of oxygen.
A coronary artery spasm is also another cause of angina; however it is not nearly as common. A spasm will sometimes happen when the fibers of the heart muscle contract much faster than they should. Once the spasm starts, the blood supply the heart muscles receive is reduced, resulting in angina.
Q: Are there effective ways to prevent angina?
A: There are actually several different lifestyle changes that can help to prevent angina and they include the following:
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Do not smoke cigarettes
- Stay away from stressful situations
- Make sure conditions like diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are treated and maintained properly
- Eat a healthy diet that includes products of high fiber and low saturated fat, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Maintain healthy weight levels
Q: Are there different types of angina?
A: Angina is a condition that is divided into two different types. Chronic stable angina is the type that happens when a personís heart requires more oxygen than it is receiving during stress or exercise. The pain and discomfort of this type will decrease when the patient rests.
Unstable angina is a type that can happen any time, and rest will not decrease the level of pain and discomfort that is experienced. When a person experiences this type of angina it is considered to be serious. This is because it could be the warning sign that a heart attack or other serious problem is going on.
Q: How is angina treated?
A: Chronic stable angina is frequently treated with prescription medications and rest. The treatment for unstable angina may differ from person to person. A visit to a specialized physician is required to determine proper treatment.