Derived from the Latin phrase that translates to “strangling in the chest”, Angina pectoris, or just angina, is often a term which is used to describe chest pain or discomfort. Usually temporary in nature, this pain is often caused by decreased blood flow to the heart muscle characterized by a squeezing sensation in the chest region. Owing to the reduction in the blood flow, there is a lack of oxygen supplied to the heart muscle thus resulting in chest pain. Furthermore, this pain might even radiate to other parts including the arms, neck, shoulders, and the shoulder blades on the back. Moreover, because of the temporary nature of this pain – usually between 1 to 15 minutes – Angina is considered to be a precursor or a symptom of an underlying coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease occurs as a result of the narrowing of the coronary arteries that are responsible for carrying blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.
In addition, despite not being a heart attack per se, Angina can put an individual under higher risk for a heart attack which is why immediate medical attention is suggested if any discomfort is experienced. Angina can be further classified into three types:
Angina symptoms may resemble other medical conditions or problems and every patient may experience symptoms differently. Patients can suffer from the following symptoms including:
Angina is diagnosed by a doctor by initially conducting a physical examination. The doctor might also ask the individuals questions pertaining to the symptoms experienced, risk factors and family history. Risk factors can include genetics, smoking, lipid abnormalities, stress, age, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. That being said, in order to diagnose Angina, the following tests may be performed:
A treatment plan is determined by the physician after taking into consideration factors such as the age of the patient, overall health, previous medical history, and the type of Angina. The objective of the treatment plan is to help reduce symptoms, decrease overall risk, and improve the patient’s quality of life. Accordingly, the following changes are suggested:
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