Heart Disease

Angina: Causes and Treatment

The Angina is a pain or discomfort transient, and generally oppressive, which affects the cardiovascular system and associated with a temporary decrease in supply of oxygenated blood to the heart. Angina should not be confused with a heart attack. How to recognize its symptoms? Let’s see then what causes lie behind this disease and what the best treatment is.


Table of Contents

What is it?

Angina term indicates that blood flow to the heart is insufficient compared to the needs which it has in that particular time. A condition not uncommon among people aged between 40 to 50 years.

The most common symptoms are pain in the chest, in the sternum, which can have different intensities, a feeling of pressure and anxiety. Each attack can last 15-20 minutes and the pain may also spread to adjoining areas, such as the stomach or shoulder blades.

You have to make two distinctions: stable angina and unstable angina. In the first case, symptoms recur for at least two months.

In the case of unstable angina, however, it is characterized by a sudden worsening of symptoms.

Causes of Angina

The main reason that causes angina is, as noted above, the decrease in oxygen supply to the heart. This may be called myocardial ischemia which, in turn, in most cases, is caused by coronary stenosis, that is, an abnormal narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the heart. Among the perpetrators of this vicious circle is the atherosclerotic disease, characterized by the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, muscle cells and other substances (calcium, platelets, inflammatory cells) within the arteries.

In addition to the direct causes, we should not underestimate other risk factors, such as atherosclerosis. The risk of angina also increased due to bad habits such as smoking and poor diet. It can also be related to other conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In case of pain in the chest, to dispel any doubts and reduce health risks, it is always best to contact your doctor for a checkup. To diagnose the problem, the doctor may do some noninvasive tests such as the so-called Stress echocardiography.

The treatment in case of angina is usually based on the administration of drugs that help prevent episodes of myocardial ischemia, such as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers or nitrates and medications that prevent the progression of coronary artery disease, such as statins or blood thinners.