Angina pectoris - risk factors and prevention

Angina pectoris is the most common type of angina, also known as stable angina.

What is Angina pectoris?

It is the chest pain or discomfort an individual feels as a result of insufficient blood supply to the cardiac (heart) muscle. This may be due to the blood vessels supplying the heart being either narrowed or blocked. It is often evident during physical activity or emotional stress.

What are the Risk factors?

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Old age
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure/ hypertension
  • Diabetes 
  • High blood cholesterol levels 
  • Stress 
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Inadequate physical exercise

What causes Angina pectoris?

  • Coronary artery disease is the most common cause. This condition occurs when the arteries supplying the heart are narrowed or blocked as a result of one of the following:
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery spasm
  • Blood clot
  • Plaque 
  • Inability or impaired ability of heart muscle to pup blood inefficiently

Symptoms of angina pectoris

  • Pain and discomfort that presents as pressure, squeezing, tightness, heaviness or fullness in the centre of the chest.
  • Discomfort in the jaw, neck, arm, or back.
  • Pain Occurring during physical activity, cold temperatures, heavy meals or emotional stress. Usually lasts for a short time (≤5 minutes) It is mostly relieved by rest or medication.
Other symptoms that accompany pain include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety 
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Sweating 

How to prevent angina pectoris

  • Manage underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, etc.
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise adequately and regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Home remedies/First Aids
  • Rest by lying down comfortably with your head up
  • If prescribed by your doctor, use nitroglycerin medication immediately.
  • Call the emergency number if you don't feel better after rest or medication

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