Angina is chest pain or discomfort you feel when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle. Your heart muscle needs the oxygen that the blood carries. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. It may feel like indigestion. You may also feel pain in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common heart disease. CAD happens when a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, reducing blood flow.

There are three types of angina:

  • Stable angina is the most common type. It happens when the heart is working harder than usual. Stable angina has a regular pattern. Rest and medicines usually help.
  • Unstable angina is the most dangerous. It does not follow a pattern and can happen without physical exertion. It does not go away with rest or medicine. It is a sign that you could have a heart attack soon.
  • Variant angina is rare. It happens when you are resting. Medicines can help.

Not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. If you have chest pain, you should see your health care provider.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Symptoms of Angina

The following features are indicative of Angina:
  • discomfort
  • pain
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • light-headedness
  • weakness

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Common Causes of Angina

The following are the most common causes of Angina:
  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood
  • high amount of blood sugar due to diabetes

Risk Factors for Angina

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Angina:
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • family history of premature heart disease

Prevention of Angina

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Angina. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • quit smoking
  • avoid secondhand smoke
  • follow a healthy diet
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • learn how to handle stress
  • keep yourself physically active

Occurrence of Angina

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Angina cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Angina most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Angina can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Angina

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Angina:
  • Electrocardiogram: To detect the signs of previous or current heart attack and the signs of heart damage due to coronary heart disease
  • Stress testing: To detect the signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease
  • Chest X-ray: To detect the signs of heart failure, lung disorders and other problems
  • Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catheterization: To diagnose coronary heart disease
  • Computed Tomography Angiography: To check the blood flow through coronary arteries
  • Blood tests: To measure the levels of cholesterol, fats, proteins and sugar in the blood

Doctor for Diagnosis of Angina

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Angina:
  • Exercise specialist
  • Physical and occupational therapist
  • Dietitian
  • Nutritionist
  • Psychologists

Complications of Angina if untreated

Yes, Angina causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Angina is left untreated:
  • heart attack

Procedures for Treatment of Angina

The following procedures are used to treat Angina:
  • Angioplasty and stenting: Improves blood flow in the heart and eliminates or reduces angina
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: Increases blood flow to the heart and eliminates or reduces angina

Self-care for Angina

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Angina:
  • Quit smoking
  • Have healthy diet: Eat a healthy diet which includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Reduce weight: Maintain or lose your weight
  • Avoid large meals: Eat food in small quantity to prevent fullness
  • Exercise regularly

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Angina

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Angina:
  • Eat a healthy diet: To treat angina
  • Physical therapy: Helps to relieve stress

Time for Treatment of Angina

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Angina to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 day

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Angina.
Cardiac Rehabilitation
Chest Pain
Coronary Artery Disease
Heart Attack

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