Angina Pectoris

By Jade Morris

What is Angina Pectoris?

Angina Pectoris also known as Stable Angina, is a term for chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease. It causes uncomfortable pressure, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest. There can also be pain in the neck, jaw shoulder, back or arm. It can be different in women and men.
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Figure 1

Diagram of discomfort caused by coronary artery disease. Pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest. Can also feel discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, back or arm.

What Causes Angina Pectoris?

Angina Pectoris is caused when the heart doesn't get as much blood as it needs. If its not getting enough blood it is not getting enough oxygen. This can happen because the arteries are narrowed or blocked. Angina can occur when your exercising or because of strong emotions.

How Common is Angina Pectoris?

Angina Pectoris is more common than unstable angina. "Over time and at different ages, independent of diagnostic and treatment practices, women have a similar or slightly higher prevalence of angina than men across countries." Angina is a common condition among older adults.
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Figure 5

What are the Risk Factors?

Risk factors for stable angina include:

  • being overweight
  • having a history of heart disease
  • having high cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • having diabetes
  • smoking
  • not exercising
  • stress
  • older age

Large meals, vigorous physical workouts, and extremely hot or cold weather can also trigger angina.

How can Angina Pectoris be Prevented?

You can help prevent angina by making some lifestyle changes.

  • Quitting smoking
  • Monitoring and controlling other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Increasing your physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Reducing your stress level

How can Angina Pectoris be Treated?

Angina Pectoris can be treated with rest, nitroglycerin or both. Nitroglycerin relaxes the arteries which reduces the amount of blood that returns to the heart and eases the heart's workload. By relaxing the arteries, it increases the heart's blood supply. Treatment for angina includes lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery.