Do you have symptoms of angina-Part -1
Angina is chest pain that happens because there isn't enough blood going to part of your heart. It can feel like a heart attack, with pressure or squeezing in your chest. It’s sometimes called angina pectoris or ischemic chest pain.
It's a symptom of heart disease, and it happens when something blocks your arteries or there's not enough blood flow in the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your heart.
Angina usually goes away quickly. Still, it can be a sign of a life-threatening heart problem. It's important to find out what's going on and what you can do to avoid a heart attack.
Usually, medicine and lifestyle changes can control angina. If it's more severe, you may need surgery, too. Or you may need what’s called a stent, a tiny tube that props open arteries.
There are different types of angina:
Stable angina. This is the most common. Physical activity or stress can trigger it. It usually lasts a few minutes, and it goes away when you rest. It isn't a heart attack, but it can be a sign that you're more likely to have one. Tell your doctor if this happens to you.
Unstable angina. You can have this while you're at rest or not very active. The pain can be strong and long-lasting, and it may come back again and again. It can be a signal that you're about to have a heart attack, so see a doctor right away.
Microvascular angina. With this type, you have chest pain but no coronary artery blockage. Instead, it happens because your smallest coronary arteries aren’t working the way they should, so your heart doesn’t get the blood it needs. Chest pain usually lasts more than 10 minutes. This type is more common in women.
Prinzmetal's angina (variant angina). This type is rare. It might happen at night while you're sleeping or resting. Your heart arteries suddenly tighten or narrow. It can cause a lot of pain, and you should get it treated.
Chest pain is the symptom, but it affects people differently. You may have:
- Feeling of fullness in your chest
- Feeling of heaviness or pressure
- Upset stomach or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
You might mistake an aching or burning for heartburn or gas.
You’re likely to have pain behind your breastbone, which can spread to your shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.
Stable angina often gets better with rest. Unstable angina may not, and it could get worse. It’s an emergency that needs medical help right away.
Angina in Women vs. Men
Men often feel pain in their chest, neck, and shoulders. Women may feel discomfort in their belly, neck, jaw, throat, or back. You may also have shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness.
One study found that women were more likely to use the words "pressing" or "crushing" to describe the feeling.
Angina usually happens because of heart disease. A fatty substance called plaque builds up in your arteries, blocking blood flow to your heart muscle. This forces your heart to work with less oxygen. That causes pain. You may also have blood clots in the arteries of your heart, which can cause heart attacks.
Less common causes of chest pain include:
- A blockage in a major artery of your lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- An enlarged or thickened heart (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
- Narrowing of a valve in the main part of your heart (aortic stenosis)
- Swelling of the sac around your heart (pericarditis)
- Tearing in the wall of your aorta, the largest artery in your body (aortic dissection)
Angina Risk Factors
Some things about you or your lifestyle could put you at higher risk of angina, including:
- Older age
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Using tobacco
- Not getting enough exercise
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, risk factors, and family history. They might need to do tests including:
- ECG. This test measures your heart’s electrical activity and rhythm.
- Stress test. This checks how your heart is working while you exercise.
- Blood tests. Your doctor will check for proteins called troponins. Lots of them are released when your heart muscle is damaged, as in a heart attack. Your doctor may also do more general tests like a metabolic panel or complete blood count (CBC).
- Imaging tests. Chest X-rays can rule out other things that might be causing your chest pain, like lung conditions. Echocardiograms and CT and MRI scans can create images of your heart to help your doctor spot problems.
- Cardiac catheterization. Your doctor inserts a long, thin tube into an artery in your leg and threads it up to your heart to check your blood flow and pressure.
- Coronary angiography. Your doctor injects dye into the blood vessels of your heart. The dye shows up on an X-ray, creating an image of your blood vessels. They may do this procedure during cardiac catheterization.
Dr. Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, CCT, ASTS Fellow.