Angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when an area of your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The pain also may occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. It can feel like indigestion.
Angina usually occurs during exertion, severe emotional stress, or after a heavy meal. During these periods, the heart muscle demands more blood oxygen than the narrowed coronary arteries can deliver. Angina typically lasts from 1 to 15 minutes and is relieved by rest or by placing a nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue.
Angina is a pain that comes from the heart. It is common in people over the age of 50. Sometimes it occurs in younger people. It is more common in men than women. This leaflet is about the common type of angina which is caused by narrowing in the coronary arteries of the heart. (Angina is sometimes caused by uncommon disorders of the heart valves or heart muscle.)
Angina (angina pectoris – Latin for squeezing of the chest) is the chest discomfort that occurs when the blood oxygen supply to an area of the heart muscle does not meet the demand. In most cases, the lack of blood supply is due to a narrowing of the coronary arteries as a result of arteriosclerosis (see below). Angina is usually felt as a squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightening, or aching across the chest, particularly behind the breastbone. This pain often radiates to the neck, jaw, arms, back, or even the teeth. Patients may also complain of indigestion, heartburn, weakness, sweating, nausea, cramping, and shortness of breath.
Symptoms of Angina
The common symptom is a pain, ache or discomfort that you feel across the front of the chest when you exert yourself. For example, when you walk up a hill. You may also, or just, feel the pain in your arms, jaw, neck or stomach.
A heart attack, symptoms typically last 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or oral medications (medications taken by mouth). Initial symptoms can start as a mild discomfort those progresses to significant pain.
Most people describe the pain as a kind of squeezing pressure, tightness or heaviness.
severe anxiety and panic attacks can cause chest pain. However, if you do experience these symptoms, your best plan of action is to get immediate help. Stop doing whatever is causing the symptoms and call 911. Lie down with your head slightly elevated. If you are not allergic to it, take one adult aspirin.
Treatment for Angina
All of the medical and interventional treatments for people with coronary heart disease have the same goals: to decrease improve quality of life and to alleviate symptoms such as angina. In some people, these interventions may also delay or stop the progression of the disease and thereby prolong life.
Exercise ECG testing — An exercise test can often determine if a person has a risk of a heart attack or cardiac death. The test involves running on a treadmill or bicycling while an electrocardiogram is continuously monitored. In some cases, a radioactive tracer such as thallium or sestamibi is used to identify the particular regions in the heart that are not getting enough blood.
A nutritionist can help to develop a diet that is “heart-healthy,” but does not take all the pleasure out of food. Most nutritional programs have the objectives of cutting down on saturated fats, while increasing polyunsaturated fats in the diet.