If you think that there’s much ado about angina but believe that there shouldn’t be as much, then you have another think coming. Your doctor has every reason to be concerned about your angina diagnosis and so will you once you finish reading this article.
Cause for Concern
Angina is the term used by doctors to describe the pressure, tightness, heaviness and squeezing sensations in the chest, often accompanied by pain sensations. These sensations are the result of reduced blood flow to the heart, thus, angina is considered a major sign of coronary artery disease. The symptom itself can be either acute (i.e., sudden) or chronic (i.e., recurring in nature).
But there’s also another factor to consider. The symptoms of angina are often difficult to distinguish from the numerous types of chest pain, such as heartburn. The best way to determine whether you have angina or not is a medical examination performed by your doctor, which can involve laboratory tests and physical exams.
Plus, there’s also the fact that angina is but a symptom of an underlying coronary artery disease. Your doctor has to determine the underlying disease and treat it first so as to effectively address your angina attacks.
Treatment Options Abound
While angina is a cause for concern, the good news is that there are several treatment options for it. You have to keep in mind that these treatments involve your active participation. You have to take your doctor-prescribed medications, adopt healthy lifestyle habits, and discuss possible surgery with your doctor, among others.
Your active participation in your treatment is a must for another reason. You have to bear in mind, too, that the goal of your treatment isn’t just to decrease the severity, frequency and duration of your angina symptoms. You’re also working toward reducing your risk of heart attack and, thus, increasing your lifespan.
Your treatment plan will likely include these two important aspects:
- Lifestyle changes including smoking cessation, weight loss, and moderate exercise coupled with a healthy diet and sensible lifestyle habits (i.e., sufficient sleep).
- Medications can reduce your symptoms but these should be prescribed by your doctor for best results. These include nitrates (nitroglycerin tablets); aspirin for reduced blood clot ability; clot-preventing drugs (clopidogrel); statins; beta blockers; and calcium channel blockers (amlodipine).
If your doctor deems it necessary, you may also undergo medical procedures include stenting, angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass surgery. But these are usually considered as a last resort when lifestyle changes and medications didn’t work within a certain time.