Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when there is not enough blood flow to the heart. Angina may also cause pain in the shoulders, arm, neck, jaw, or back. Angina is often a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common form of heart disease. It can also be caused by cardiomyopathy, aortic stenosis, and many other conditions. Not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. Your physician will run tests to determine the underlying cause.
Risk factors for Angina include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Unhealthy diet
- Older age
- Family history
Those with angina may experience a range of symptoms. These may differ depending on the type of Angina or the sex of the patient. Some symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Nausea, or feeling sick in the stomach
- Shortness of breath
Detection and Diagnosis
Your doctor may diagnose angina based on a combination of diagnostic testing, a physical examination, and your previous medical history. These tests may help rule out other conditions and assess whether you need immediate treatment for a heart attack.
The treatment approach for angina may depend on a number of factors including symptoms, age, type of angina, test results, and risk of further complications. If your angina is stable, does not require immediate emergency hospitalization and your symptoms are not getting worse, you may be able to treat your angina with diet, lifestyle changes, and medication. If the condition is more serious, a medical procedure such as angioplasty may be needed to improve blood flow and improve symptoms.