Do you often feel a squeezing pain in your chest? Or as if a heavyweight is pressing on your chest? Chances are you may have angina.
It is important to see a physician right away if you are having chest pains or heavy chest pressure of any kind. If angina is left untreated, it may result in myocardial infarction (heart attack) or can be fatal.
What Is Angina?
Angina causes chest pains due to reduced blood flow to your heart. (Contrast that with a heart attack, which is when the blood flow to the heart is completely blocked.) It is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease.
People with angina describe feeling pressure, squeezing, heaviness, tightness, or pain in their chest. You may also feel pain in your left shoulder, arm, neck, back, or jaw.
There are three different types of angina:
- Stable angina. This is caused by doing the same activities, feels the same way each time, and can be relieved with medication and rest. It is triggered by physical exertion like climbing stairs, exercising, or walking in very cold weather. If there is any change in how your chest pains feel, it can become unstable angina at that point.
- Unstable angina. This type of angina can happen even when you’re at rest, and it is more severe. Whereas stable angina will cause symptoms for five minutes or so, unstable angina can last much longer and feel worse.
- Variant angina. Also known as Prinzmetal’s angina, this is when a coronary artery goes into spasm, thus interrupting blood flow to the heart. This angina is uncommon and happens when a person is resting. If the spasm is severe and continues, it can lead to a heart attack.
How Do You Treat Angina?
The treatment for angina aims to lessen the frequency and severity of your symptoms and to lower your risk of it developing into a fatal heart attack. Let’s talk about some of the common treatment options for angina:
1. Lifestyle Changes
Changes in your lifestyle may be all you need to keep your angina under control. These adjustments include the following:
- Lose weight.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stop smoking.
- Start exercising.
- Avoid eating large meals.
- Lower your stress levels.
- Limit alcohol intake (up to two per day for men, up to one per day for women).
Your doctor may also recommend that you take medication. These may include the following:
- Blood pressure-lowering medications
- Blood clot-preventing medications
- Calcium channel blockers
3. Medical Procedures and Surgery
For patients who have unstable angina which is not responding well to medication or lifestyle changes, a physician may recommend one of the following surgical procedures:
- Coronary artery bypass
- Angioplasty and stenting
Heart Doctor in Sherman, Texas
Angina is hard to distinguish from chest pains caused by indigestion, and it can lead to more severe problems like a heart attack. If you feel unexplained chest pains, seek medical attention immediately.
Here at Carrus, we offer CT scanning services to diagnose angina and other coronary conditions. After diagnosis, our experienced team of healthcare professionals is ready to help you with proper care and treatment.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling us at (903) 870-2600. We look forward to partnering with you for a lifetime of health and wellness here in the Texoma area.