Angina Chest Pain & Tightness, Symptoms, Types & Treatment


Angina, also known as angina pectoris, is chest pain or pressure, usually due to not enough blood flow to the heart muscle.

Angina is usually due to obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries. Other causes include anemia, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart failure. The main mechanism of coronary artery obstruction is an atherosclerosis. The term derives from the Latin angere (“to strangle”) and pectus (“chest”), and can therefore be translated as “a strangling feeling in the chest”.

What is angina pectoris?

Angina pectoris is chest pain or discomfort caused when the heart muscles don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. It may feel like pressure, burning or squeezing sensation in your chest. The discomfort also can occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.

Is angina a disease?

Angina is not a disease. It is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease ( i.e blockage in the blood vessels supplying the heart ) but there can be other causes like hypertension, some valvular problems of the heart etc.

What are the types of angina pectoris ?

There are many types of angina including microvascular angina, Prinzmetal’s angina, stable angina and unstable angina .

What is the most common cause of angina?

  • Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of angina pectoris. In coronary artery disease one or more of the coronary arteries (the blood vessels supplying the heart) is narrowed or blocked. It occurs when fat gets built up in the coronary arteries, also known as plaque which prevents blood flow that’s needed to provide oxygen to the heart muscles.
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What are the risk factors for angina ?

  • Unhealthy cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Older age

How is angina diagnosed ?

Any case of chest pain/ discomfort should be checked by a physician or a cardiologist . If there is a possibility of angina the following tests may be recommended

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram)
  • Echocardiography
  • Stress Testing
  • Blood Tests
  • Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catheterization
  • Computed Tomography Angiography

What is the treatment of angina pectoris ?

Treatment of angina pectoris includes lifestyle changes, medicines , cardiac interventions like angioplasty or bypass surgery and cardiac rehabilitation These treatments help reduce pain and also prevent or lower the risk of heart attack and death by treating underlying cardiovascular condition .


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