Angina Pectoris is a phrase that comes from Latin and translates as 'tight chest'. Angina pectoris, commonly known as angina, is chest pain due to ischemia i.e. a lack of blood and oxygen supply of the heart muscle. It occurs when the heart muscle (myocardium) doesn't get as much blood and as much oxygen as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart's arteries is narrowed or blocked. Insufficient blood supply is called ischemia. It usually lasts for only a few minutes, and an attack is usually quickly relieved by rest or drugs. Also, it is possible to have myocardial ischemia without experiencing angina. Pain starts in the centre of the chest behind the breast bone or on the left side of the front of the chest. It can spread out to other parts of your body like your arms and stomach.
An episode of angina is not a heart attack. Having angina means you have an increased risk of having a heart attack. Time is very important in angina. The more time your heart is deprived of adequate blood flow, and thus oxygen, the more your heart muscle is at risk of heart attack or heart rhythm abnormalities. The longer you have chest pain from angina, the more your heart muscle is at risk of dying or malfunctioning.
Some people experience angina while sleeping or at rest. This type of angina may be caused by a spasm in a coronary artery, which most commonly occurs at the site of atherosclerotic plaque in a diseased vessel. Angina can be confused with a heart attack. However, unlike a heart attack, the pain from angina usually goes away in 15 minutes or less with rest.
Angina Pectoris differs from other types of Angina
Angina pectoris is totally different from Angina Tonsillaris and Ludwig's Angina.
There are three main types of Angina:
Angina can be classified into three types: Chronic exertional (Stable, Typical), Variant Angina (Prinzmetal's), or Unstable Angina (Crescendo Angina).
Causes of Angina Pectoris
The two main causes of angina are coronary artery spasm, and atherosclerotic plaque buildup which causes critical blockage of the coronary artery. In most cases, the cause of angina is coronary atherosclerosis: the thickening of arteries that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart. In severe cases this can also happen when the heart is at rest.
Angina can be aggravated by other illnesses, including:
The exact cause(s) of coronary artery disease remains unknown. Yet experts have identified some of the risk factors that increase a person's chance of getting this disease. They include:
Certain individuals, though, develop angina without having any of the above common risk factors for CAD.
Signs & Symptoms of Angina Pectoris
Symptoms typically start during physical exertion or emotional stress. They are often worse in cold or windy weather and sometimes after big meals.
In some cases the fatty deposits that restrict blood flow can rupture. Blood then clots around the rupture, and the clot may be large enough to block the artery and seal off the blood supply. This may cause unstable angina or a heart attack.
Some patients have atypical angina (e.g., bloating, gas, abdominal distress) often ascribing symptoms to indigestion; belching may even seem to relieve the symptoms. Others have dyspnea due to the sharp, reversible increase in LV filling pressure that often accompanies ischemia. Frequently, the patient's description is imprecise, and whether the problem is angina, dyspnea, or both may be difficult to determine. Because ischemic symptoms require a minute or more to resolve, brief, fleeting sensations rarely represent angina.
Diagnosis of Angina Pectoris
Angina pectoris is diagnosed in a client by a physician performing a physical exam, reviewing his or her medical history and running the following tests on the client:
Treatment of Angina Pectoris
The first step in angina treatment is to eliminate risk factors that are likely to hasten the progression of heart disease. This means that people with angina should stop smoking, lose excess weight, eat a heart-healthy diet, and exercise regularly, if possible.
Drugs: In most instances, drugs are recommended for the treatment of angina before surgery is considered. A variety of medicines now are available for the treatment of angina. There are five main types of medication, which help to control symptoms and increase blood flow to the heart muscle:
--Calcium channel blockers