Angina, also called angina pectoris, is a condition characterized by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, causing a wide range of chest pain. Angina is quite common and may be hard for patients to distinguish from indigestion and other simple causes of pain in the chest. Angina symptoms occur when the heart muscle does not receive as much blood as it needs to properly function. The pain physicians at OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine, located in the greater Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area, are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating the symptoms of angina.
What is Angina?
Angina, or angina pectoris, is a medical term used for chest pain and discomfort commonly associated with coronary heart disease. When one or more of the heart’s arteries are blocked or narrowed, the heart muscle does not receive an ample flow of blood. The reduced blood flow causes uncomfortable pain, squeezing and pressure in the center of the chest.
What are Angina Symptoms?
Angina symptoms vary from patient to patient, and if stable angina or unstable angina is present. Stable angina occurs during times of strong emotions or physical exercise when the heart must work harder and is relieved by rest and medication. Unstable angina occurs at any time, worsens over time and is not relieved by rest or medications.
Common angina symptoms include:
- Chest pain that usually lasts under 5 minutes
- Chest pain that is relieved with rest or medicine
- Chest discomfort that is similar to indigestion and gas
- Chest discomfort that spreads to the arms, back or other areas of the body
- Shortness of breath
The pain associated with angina varies from patient to patient and is described as a heavy weight placed on the chest in some patients, while some patients report chest pain similar to simple indigestion.
Angina symptoms in women can be different than the typical symptoms of angina pectoris; therefore many women have a delayed diagnosis. Women typically experience nausea, abdominal pain or shortness of breath, with or without chest pain.
What are Treatment Options for Angina?
In order to begin the treatment process for angina pectoris, a pain physician will perform a medical history review and a physical examination. A stress test, ECG or EKG, chest X-rays, blood work or a number of other diagnostic tests may be performed to help confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment options for angina include lifestyle changes, medications, stenting and possible surgery. Lifestyle changes may be effective at treating mild angina symptoms. If lifestyle changes do not alleviate the chest pain, medications such as aspirin, beta blockers and statins may be prescribed in addition to lifestyle changes. In severe cases, stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery may be recommended to allow proper blood flow to the heart muscle.
If you are experiencing chest pain and believe it is caused by angina, or angina pectoris, contact the physicians at OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine to learn more about the treatment of angina symptoms.