Types of Angina
The pain is predictable and present only during hard work or extreme stress, fading away slowly.
This may signal an impending heart attack. Unstable angina is angina pain that is different from your regular angina pain or pain that occurs while at rest. Angina may occur more frequently, more easily at rest, feel more severe, or last longer. Although this type of angina can often be relieved with oral medications (medicine taken by mouth), it is unstable and may progress to a heart attack. Usually, more intense medical treatment or a procedure is required.
- Are often described as pressure, squeezing, burning, or tightness in the chest
- Usually, start in the chest behind the breastbone
- May also occur in the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, throat, or back
- May feel like indigestion
- Occurs when the heart must work harder, usually during physical exertion
- Is expected, and episodes of pain tend to be alike
- Usually, lasts a short time (5 minutes or less)
- Is relieved by rest or angina medicine
- May feel like gas or indigestion
- May feel like chest pain that spreads to the arms, back or other areas
- Often occurs at rest, while sleeping at night, or with little physical exertion
- More severe and lasts longer (as long as 30 minutes) than episodes of stable angina
- It usually is not relieved with rest or angina medicine
- May get continuously worse
- May signal that a heart attack will happen soon
- Usually occurs at rest and during the night or early morning hours
- Tends to be severe
- Is relieved by angina medicine
To find out if you have angina, your doctor will:
- Do a physical exam
- Ask about your symptoms
- Ask about your risk factors and your family history of coronary artery disease (CAD) or another heart disease
This test measures the rate and regularity of your heartbeat. Some people with angina have a normal EKG.
Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working harder and beating faster than when it’s at rest. During stress testing, you exercise (or are given medicine if you are unable to exercise) to make your heart work harder and beat faster while heart tests are performed. During exercise stress testing, your blood pressure, and EKG readings are monitored while you walk or run on a treadmill or pedal a bicycle.
Nuclear heart scanning or echocardiography
Also can be done at the same time. These would be ordered if your doctor needs more information than the exercise stress test can provide about how well your heart is working.
If you are unable to exercise, a medicine can be injected through an IV into your bloodstream to make your heart work harder and beat faster, as if you are exercising on a treadmill or bicycle. Nuclear heart scanning or echocardiography is then usually done.
During nuclear heart scanning, a radioactive tracer is injected into your bloodstream, and a special camera shows the flow of blood through your heart and arteries. Echocardiography uses sound waves to show blood flow through the chambers and valves of your heart and to show the strength of your heart muscle.
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET)
Your doctor also may order two newer tests along with stress testing if more information is needed about how well your heart works. These new tests are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning of the heart. MRI shows detailed images of the structures and beating of your heart, which may help your doctor better assess if parts of your heart are weak or damaged. PET scanning shows the level of chemical activity in different areas of your heart. This can help your doctor determine if enough blood is flowing to the areas of your heart. A PET scan can show decreased blood flow caused by disease or damaged muscles that may not be detected by other scanning methods.
A chest x-ray takes a picture of the organs and structures inside your chest. These include your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
Nuclear heart scans
This test provides your doctor with moving pictures of the blood passing through your heart’s chambers and arteries and shows the level of blood flood to the heart muscle. A small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected into your bloodstream through a vein, usually in your arm. A special camera is placed in front of your chest to show where the tracer lights up in healthy heart muscle and where it doesn’t light up (in heart muscle that has been damaged or has a blocked artery).
There are different types of nuclear heart scans
Most scans have two phases—taking pictures of the heart at rest and while it is beating faster (called a stress test), although sometimes only a rest scan is done. Many heart problems show up more clearly when your heart is stressed than when it is at rest. By comparing the nuclear heart scan of your heart at rest to your heart at “stress,” your doctor can determine if your heart is functioning normally or not.
This test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. An echocardiogram provides information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart chambers and valves are functioning. The test also can identify areas of poor blood flow to the heart, areas of heart muscle that are not contracting normally, and previous injury to the heart muscle caused by poor blood flow.
There are several different types of echocardiograms, including a stress echocardiogram. During this test, an echocardiogram is done both before and after your heart is stressed either by having you exercise or by injecting a medicine into your bloodstream that makes your heart beat faster and work harder. A stress echocardiogram is usually done to find out if you have decreased blood flow to your heart (coronary artery disease).
A thin flexible tube (catheter) is passed through an artery in the groin (upper leg) or arm to reach the coronary arteries. Your doctor can determine pressure and blood flow in the heart’s chambers, collect blood samples from the heart, and examine the arteries of the heart by X-ray.
This test is done during cardiac catheterization. A dye that can be seen by x-ray is injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries. Your doctor can see the flow of blood through your heart and the location of blockages.
Treatment – Lifestyle changes
- Take rest breaks, if angina comes on with exertion.
- Keep away from large meals and rich foods that leave you feeling stuffed, if angina comes on after a heavy meal.
- Keep away from situations that make you upset or stressed, if angina comes on with stress. Learn techniques to handle the stress that cannot be avoided.
- Eat a healthy diet to prevent or reduce high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and obesity
- Stop smoking
- Be physically active, as directed by your doctor
- Lose weight, if you are overweight or obese.
Angina Treatment Natural Remedies
There are a number of home remedies that can help reduce the pain of angina, they are explained in greater detail below.
Avoid mutton, since it is very rich in cholesterol. Similarly, the consumption of dairy products should be reduced. If you adopt a diet with less fat and food with less cholesterol, you can reduce a lot of the minor symptoms of angina pain. Also, eat more vegetables! Green vegetables not only control angina but also help to maintain overall health.
This is the simplest home remedy for angina patients. Try to include one lemon in your food each day. You can squeeze it over salads or have it as fresh lemon water. Lemon helps you avoid the accumulation of cholesterol, thus preventing any sort of blockage in the blood vessels. It is a natural deterrent for angina and angina patients should include lemon in their daily diet whenever possible.
This is famous worldwide as the best cure for all sorts of heart ailments. Taking 2-3 cloves of raw garlic in the morning goes a long way towards naturally curing angina over an extended period of time. Like the use of lemon, garlic needs to find a place in your daily diet chart to be the most effective.
Popularly known in India as “Tulsi” leaves, this remedy is very effective in many ways. It is considered one of the genuine cures for angina, not just a treatment for the symptoms. It is best to chew a few leaves of fresh basil leaves in the morning. If you do not get fresh leaves, then make a juice of basil, adding a few spoons or concentrated basil juice and warm water.
The effect of honey cannot be underestimated as an herbal cure for angina. Lemon squeezed into warm water with a spoon of honey, and taken on an empty stomach, helps to clear blood vessels and reduces the accumulation of cholesterol. Moreover, it also helps to control fat content.
These are known to strengthen the heart. They help to reduce the risk of heart attack, angina pain and increase the quality of your breath.
Raw onion juice might be a little harsh to taste, but if taken in the morning, it can help to instantly bring down your cholesterol level. Then, you don’t need to worry about cholesterol or angina for the rest of the day!
Apart from lemon, which is high in citrus acid, you can also eat pineapples, oranges, and grapes to fight against angina on a daily basis. Vitamin C helps to control your cholesterol level as well.
Parsley has been recognized as one of the essential home remedies for treating angina. It can be taken in the form of either dried herbs or fresh leaves. It is also advised to drink parsley tea, as it has both a pleasant taste and aroma, along with being beneficial for treating angina.
Reasons for treatment
- Reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms
- Prevent or lower the risk of heart attack and death