Angina pectoris or angina
there is a disorder of the breast marked with strong and peculiar symptoms,
considerable for the kind of danger belonging to it …… The seat of it, and sense of strangling, and anxiety
with which is attended, may make it not improperly be called angina pectoris.
William Heberden (1768)
pectoris is a recurring pain or discomfort in the chest that happens when some
part of the heart does not receive enough blood. It is a common symptom of
coronary heart disease, which occurs when vessels that carry blood to the heart
become narrowed and blocked due to atherosclerosis. Angina feels like a pressing
or squeezing pain, usuallyin the chest under the breast bone, but sometimes in
the shoulders, arms, neck, jaws, or back. It is usually precipitated by exertion
and it is relieved within a few minutes by resting or by taking prescribed
angina medicine such as nitro-glycerine. Physical exertion is the most common
trigger for angina. Other triggers can be emotional stress, extreme cold or heat,
heavy meals, and cigarette smoking. The pain does not means that the heart
muscle is suffering irreversible, permanent damage.
Stable and unstable angina
is classified as stable when recurs in a regular or characteristic pattern. The
level of activity or stress that provokes the angina is somewhat predictable,
and the pattern changes only slowly. The established stable pattern of angina
may change sharply or angina may first appear as a very severe episode or as
frequently recurring bouts of angina. Angina may also appear at rest. In these
forms angina is referred to as unstable angina
How is angina diagnosed?
it is diagnosed by noting the symptoms, how they arise, and according to drug
sensibility such as nitroglycerin. However, one or more diagnostic tests may be
needed to exclude angina or to establish the severity of the underlying coronary
disease. These include the electrocardiogram (ECG) at rest, the ECG, echo, and
radioisotope stress test and coronary angiogram.
For many patients with angina the ECG at rest is normal. This is not
surprising because the symptoms of angina occur during stress.
What’s the difference between angina
and heart attack?
heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is suddenly and
permanently cut off. This causes permanent damage to the heart muscle. Typically,
the cast pain is more severe, lasts longer, and does not go away with rest or
with medicine that was previous effective. It my be accompanied by indigestion,
nausea, weakness, an sweating. However, the symptoms ah a heart attack are
varied and may be considerably milder.
Not every chest pain is angina
your heart, chest pain can also come from your lungs, your oesophagus and
stomach, and the muscles and bones that make up your rib cage. Angina will
usually last from several minutes to about half an hour. Pain that lasts only a
few seconds or is constant for several days is less likely to be due to angina.
Angina pain should not change with position or movement, so pain that gets
better or worse when you sit up, move your arms, or take a deep breath is also
less likely to be angina. And feelings of chest or stomach discomfort are
probably not angina. Knowing what your angina is usually like and recognizing
how to distinguish it from other types of chest discomfort can help you to live
a more normal life without constantly worrying about every little twinge of
discomfort you experience. On the other hand, if you are ever not sure if you
are having an angina attack, or even a heart attack (where the pain lasts longer
and is often more intense), it is better to play it safe and call your doctor or
go to a hospital emergency room immediately.
In angina get emergency medical
assistance if your pain:
Comes on with less
Happens more often
Isn’t helped by
your usual medication
Happens at a time
that is unusual for you
Awakens you from
Seems more widespread
or much more severe
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