Angina Pain

Angina pain refers to a kind of pain in the chest caused due to decreased blood supply to the cardiac muscle. It is a sign of coronary artery disease. Angina pain can be termed as tightness, pressure, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest. Most patients of angina pain have said that the sensation is comparable to someone standing on the chest.Angina pain is also known as angina pectoris. It can be an acute, sudden health problem, or can be a chronic issue.

Angina pain is fairly common. However, it is difficult to differentiate angina pain from other kinds of chest pain, like indigestion discomfort or pain. It is important to seek immediate medical attention in all cases of inexplicable pain in the chest.

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Symptoms of angina pain

Some of the signs and symptoms of angina pain are listed below

  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain may be accompanied by pain in the neck, arms, shoulder, jaw, or back.
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Breathlessness
  • Perspiration
  • Angina pain and discomfort can be described as pressing, pressure, pain or fullness in the mid-section of the chest. A few sufferers have indicated that the pain is akin to a feeling of some heavy object placed on the chest, or a vise-like grip on the chest.

The type, severity, and length of angina pain can differ. It is necessary to differentiate between a changing or new chest pains. New or varying symptoms may signify an unstable or more life-threatening case of angina pain, or a cardiac arrest.

Types of angina pain

The most common type of angina pain is stable angina pain. It is usually caused due to excursion and disappears with rest. Individuals who are suffering from chest pain for the first time must visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Worsening of stable angina pain requires immediate medical attention.

Stable angina pain features include:

  • It occurs when engaging in exercises like climbing stairs which makes the heart work harder
  • It lasts for a short duration of 5 minutes or less
  • The pain is similar to older episodes of chest pain and hence easily predictable
  • Rest or use of angina pain medicines makes it disappear faster
  • It migrate to the back, arms, or other regions
  • It can feel like pain of indigestion
  • Emotional or mental stress can trigger this kind of angina pain

Unstable angina pain is a medical emergency. Its features include:

  • It can develop even during rest
  • It is quite sudden
  • Its symptoms elicit a pattern that is different from the usual angina pain
  • Its lasts for a longer duration as compared to stable angina pain, often lasting for half an hour. It is also more extreme.
  • It can signify a heart attack.
  • It may not go away with the use of angina pain medicines or rest

The features of Prinzmetal’s angina or variant angina pain include:

  • It is generally severe
  • Often develops during rest
  • Patients may find relief with angina pain medicines
  • Prinzmetal’s angina is an uncommon condition. It affects only about two percent of the angina pain patients. It occurs due to a spasm of the cardiac arteries which temporarily decrease the supply of blood.

Angina pain in women

The angina pain symptoms in a woman can differ from the typical symptoms of angina pain. A woman can experience pain in the chest which is comparable to a pulsating, stabbing, or sharp kind of angina chest pain, rather than the classical vise-like chest pressure.

It is also more likely that women may feel other symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and breathlessness. Such differences may result in delayed treatment.

Causes of angina pain

Angina pain is caused due to decreased flow of blood to the cardiac muscle. The heart needs oxygen present in the blood for its survival. Lack of oxygenated blood results is a disorder known as ischemia.

Coronary artery disease is one of the major causes of decreased blood supply to the cardiac muscle. Deposition of plaques in the cardiac arteries result in their narrowing and a condition called atherosclerosis.

It may be noted that even when you have fatty deposits on the cardiac arteries you may not suffer from angina pain. This is because the heart is able to function with the limited oxygen supply during rest. However, angina pain can arise when exercise or during physical excursions as the limited blood flow is insufficient for the heart to function during such times.

Arteries can also become narrow due to cold temperatures, emotional stress, smoking, and heavy meals.

The rupture of plaques in cause a blood clot in the cardiac arteries thereby substantially reducing the blood flow to the heart muscle. This can result in unstable angina pain. Anemia is another cause of this dangerous condition.

The use of tobacco, or the presence of hypertension, diabetes, a family history of the condition, high levels of triglyceride or blood cholesterol, an increased age, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and obesity can also elevate the risk to developing angina pain.

Treatment of angina pain

All cases of angina pain have to be checked by a doctor. The condition can be treated with medications, lifestyle changes, stenting and angioplasty, or a coronary bypass surgery.

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