Angina is a sensation of squeezing, tightness or discomfort in the chest region. This is likely to occur once the heart does not receive adequate oxygenated blood. The condition is prevalent among middle-aged individuals and elderly.
What are the possible causes?
Angina might be brought about any condition that affects the flow of blood to the heart or those that strain the heart such as:
- Coronary artery disease – the fatty deposits or plaque that buildup on the coronary arteries causes them to narrow. This narrowing reduces the amount of blood flow to the heart which means that reduced oxygen reaches the heart muscle. This is the usual root of angina.
- Abnormal heart rhythms and heart valves
- Coronary artery spasm – the coronary artery walls might tighten which narrows and causes the flow of blood to turn sluggish or stop. Once the spasm ceases, the artery as well as the flow of blood is restored.
- Thyroid issues
- Anemia – the amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin is too low
- Polycythemia – there is excess red blood cells that causes the blood to thicken
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
One is also likely to experience angina if the heart is straining such as:
- Being upset
- Exercising or strenuous physical activity
- Exposure to cold air
- Eating a heavy meal
The characteristics of angina generally include:
- Lasts for only a few minutes
- Subsides with medication such as nitroglycerin or with rest
- Each episode is similar
- Occurs when the heart must strain such as during physical activity or under emotional stress
If an individual has been diagnosed with angina, a doctor must be consulted.
It is important to note that the angina symptoms might be warning signs of a heart attack. Call for emergency assistance right away if signs such as the following are present:
- Chest pain or pressure, fullness or squeezing in the middle of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or one that settles and returns.
- Difficulty breathing
- Discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders or in the neck, back, stomach or jaw
- Breaking out in cold sweat for no known cause
The individual might also feel very tired, faints or feels sick.