Recognizing the warning signs of heart strain

Credit: Unsplash+

Angina pectoris, commonly known as angina, is a condition marked by severe chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart.

This condition is often a warning sign of underlying heart issues, such as coronary artery disease, which occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become narrowed.

Recognizing the symptoms of angina is crucial because it can help prevent more serious heart problems, including heart attacks. This article breaks down the symptoms of angina, offering easy-to-understand information backed by research.

Angina is typically triggered by physical exertion or stress and is described as a squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness, or pain in your chest.

It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn but is distinct because it usually comes with activity or stress and goes away with rest or angina medication like nitroglycerin.

There are two main types of angina: stable and unstable. Stable angina has a predictable pattern, occurring when the heart is working harder than usual—like during exercise—and it usually goes away with rest or angina medicine.

Unstable angina is more unpredictable and can occur at rest; it’s more severe and lasts longer. Unstable angina is considered a medical emergency as it can indicate that a heart attack is imminent.

Beyond chest pain, angina symptoms can also include pain in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, or back accompanying the chest pain. You might also experience nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, sweating, and dizziness.

The chest pain you feel with angina happens because your heart muscle isn’t getting enough oxygen-rich blood. It is a symptom of an underlying problem with your heart’s blood vessels, which is why it is crucial to get diagnosed and treated early.

Research highlights the importance of recognizing these symptoms early. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology emphasizes that early detection and treatment of angina can significantly reduce the risk of more severe heart conditions, including heart attacks and heart failure.

This research supports the need for awareness and education on recognizing angina symptoms to ensure timely medical intervention.

Risk factors for angina include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and a family history of heart disease. Managing these risk factors can help reduce the likelihood of developing angina.

For example, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing blood pressure and cholesterol can all help keep your heart’s arteries clear and reduce strain on your heart.

Diagnosing angina involves reviewing your medical history, a physical exam, and tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), stress testing, echocardiogram, or coronary angiography.

These tests help determine how well your heart is functioning and whether your heart’s arteries are blocked.

Treatment for angina focuses on reducing pain, preventing symptoms, and lowering the risk of heart attack and death. Medications are often prescribed to improve blood flow to the heart, reduce the heart’s workload, and prevent blood clots.

In some cases, procedures like angioplasty and stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery may be necessary to improve blood flow.

In conclusion, understanding and recognizing the signs of angina is vital. Being aware of the symptoms and seeking prompt medical advice can significantly enhance the quality of life and reduce the risk of developing more serious heart conditions.

If you experience any symptoms of angina, especially if you have risk factors for heart disease, consult with a healthcare provider to discuss the best course of action for maintaining your heart health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to higher risk of heart failure, and results showing Blackcurrants could improve artery functions, blood pressure in older people.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.