Angina

angina plaque angina pain angina flow
 

Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused when your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood. It may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The discomfort also can occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.

But, angina is not a disease. It is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD).There are many types of angina, including microvascular angina, Prinzmetal's angina, stable angina, unstable angina and variant angina. 

This usually happens because one or more of the coronary arteries is narrowed or blocked, also called ischemia.

Angina can also be a symptom of coronary microvascular disease (MVD). This is heart disease that affects the heart’s smallest coronary arteries and is more likely to affect women than men. Coronary MVD also is called cardiac syndrome X and non-obstructive CHD.Depending on the type of angina you have, there are many factors that can trigger angina pain. The symptoms also vary based on the type of angina you have.

Types of Angina

Angina Pectoris (Stable Angina)

You may have heard the term “angina pectoris” or “stable angina” in your doctor’s office, but what is it, and what could it mean for you? It’s important to understand the basics.

Angina pectoris is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease.  It occurs when the heart muscle doesn't get as much blood as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart's arteries is narrowed or blocked, also called ischemia.

Angina usually causes uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest.  You may also feel the discomfort in your neck, jaw, shoulder, back or arm.  (Many types of chest discomfort — like heartburn, lung infection or inflammation — aren‘t related to angina.) Angina in women can be different than in men.

When does angina pectoris occur?

Angina often occurs when the heart muscle itself needs more blood than it is getting, for example, during times of physical activity or strong emotions. Severely narrowed arteries may allow enough blood to reach the heart when the demand for oxygen is low, such as when you're sitting. But, with physical exertion—like walking up a hill or climbing stairs—the heart works harder and needs more oxygen.

Symptoms of Stable Angina

The pain or discomfort:

  • Occurs when the heart must work harder, usually during physical exertion
  • Doesn't come as a surprise, and episodes of pain tend to be alike
  • Usually lasts a short time (5 minutes or less)
  • Is relieved by rest or medicine
  • May feel like gas or indigestion
  • May feel like chest pain that spreads to the arms, back, or other areas

Possible triggers of stable angina include:

  • Emotional stress – learn stress management
  • Exposure to very hot or cold temperatures – learn how cold and hot weather affect the heart.
  • Heavy meals
  • Smoking 

Unstable Angina

Unstable angina or sometimes referred to as acute coronary syndrome causes unexpected chest pain, and usually occurs while resting. The most common cause is reduced blood flow to the heart muscle because the coronary arteries are narrowed by fatty buildups (atherosclerosis) which can rupture causing injury to the coronary blood vessel resulting in blood clotting which blocks the flow of blood to the heart muscle.

Unstable angina should be treated as an emergency. If you have new, worsening or persistent chest discomfort, you need to go to the ER. You could be having a heart attack which puts you at increased risk for severe cardiac arrhythmias or cardiac arrest, which could lead to sudden death.

Causes of Unstable Angina:

Blood clots that block an artery partially or totally are what causes unstable angina. Blood clots may form, partially dissolve, and later form again and angina can occur each time a clot blocks blood flow in an artery. Learn more about excessive blood clotting.

Symptoms of Unstable Angina

The pain or discomfort:

  • Often occurs while you may be resting, sleeping, or with little physical exertion
  • Comes as a surprise
  • May last longer than stable angina
  • Rest or medicine usually do not help relieve it
  • May get worse over time
  • Can lead to a heart attack

Prinzmetal's or Prinzmetal Angina, Variant Angina and Angina Inversa

Unlike typical angina – which is often triggered by exertion or emotional stress – Prinzmetal’s angina almost always occurs when a person is at rest, usually between midnight and early morning. These attacks can be very painful.

Prinzmetal angina may also be referred to as:

  • Variant angina
  • Prinzmetal's variant angina
  • Angina inversa

Prinzmetal’s angina is rare, representing about two out of 100 cases of angina, and usually occurs in younger patients than those who have other kinds of angina.

Causes of Variant (Prinzmetal) Angina: The pain from variant angina is caused by a spasm in the coronary arteries (which supply blood to the heart muscle).

The coronary arteries can spasm as a result of:

  • Exposure to cold weather
  • Stress
  • Medicines that tighten or narrow blood vessels
  • Smoking
  • Cocaine use

Symptoms of Variant (Prinzmetal) Angina:

The pain or discomfort:

  • Usually occurs while resting and during the night or early morning hours
  • Are usually severe
  • Can be relieved by taking medication

Microvascular Angina

This type of angina, or chest pain, may be a symptom of coronary microvascular disease (MVD). Coronary MVD is heart disease that affects the heart’s smallest coronary artery blood vessels.

Causes of microvascular angina: Spasms within the walls of these very small arterial blood vessels causes reduced blood flow to the heart muscle leading to a type of chest pain referred to as microvascular angina.

Symptoms of microvascular angina: Angina that occurs in coronary MVD may differ from the typical angina that occurs in heart disease in that the chest pain usually lasts longer than 10 minutes, and it can last longer than 30 minutes. If you have been diagnosed with MVD, follow the directions from your healthcare provider regarding how to treat your symptoms and when to seek emergency assistance.

The pain or discomfort:

  • May be more severe and last longer than other types of angina pain
  • May occur with shortness of breath, sleep problems, fatigue, and lack of energy
  • Often is first noticed during routine daily activities and times of mental stress

Talk to Your Doctor

Herbal remedies to help with angina
 
  Hawthorne berry  
 
60 capsules
$16.00
Hawthorne
berry
 
 
 
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*Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera)
*Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
*Brahmi
(Bacopa monnieri)
*Burdock
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
*Bladderwrack
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
*Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
*Maca
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
*Sarsaparrilla
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
*Vitex
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
*Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
)
*Shiitake
(Lentinula edodes
)