Angina Pectoris Treatment: Angina pectoris is characterized by dull pressure or pain in the chest. Mostly it is the symptom of a heart disease. We explain what constitutes angina pectoris and how it can be treated.
Chest pain – many immediately think of a heart attack. But there can also be other causes, for example angina pectoris. With us you will find out everything you should know about it.
What is Angina Pectoris?
The name angina pectoris (stenocardia) comes from Latin and means “chest tightness”. The term describes a dull, aching pain in the chest. This is triggered by a lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Angina itself is less of a disease and more of a symptom of a disease. It usually occurs with coronary artery disease (CHD) or arteriosclerosis.
Doctors differentiate between two types of angina pectoris: the stable and the unstable. In the case of stable angina pectoris, the symptoms occur when there is strong physical or emotional stress. This pain has occurred more often and usually disappears quickly. An unstable angina pectoris, on the other hand, can also develop when the patient is at rest or during low stress. It is spoken of when symptoms appear for the first time or when they exceed previous attacks in intensity and duration.
Symptoms of Angina Pectoris:
The primary symptom is a feeling of pressure, pain, or burning behind the sternum. This pain can radiate to the left arm, upper abdomen, or back. Due to the stressful situation, many people affected suffer from great fear and panic. There is often shortness of breath and profuse sweating. The pain often lasts only a few minutes and then disappears.
Angina pectoris is caused by certain diseases. In coronary heart disease, the vessels harden over time. With arteriosclerosis, on the other hand, the blood vessels become calcified with increasing age. The result of both: the so-called coronary arteries are narrowed. These are responsible for the oxygen supply to the heart. Changes in their structure lead to circulatory disorders. The heart muscle suffers from a lack of oxygen. The typical symptoms of angina pectoris occur.
The following risk factors favor the development of arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease (and thereby increase the risk of angina pectoris):
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- High blood pressure
- Familial disposition
- Diabetes mellitus
- Very overweight
- Increasing age
Diagnosis of Angina Pectoris:
If angina pectoris is suspected, the specialist will ask about the symptoms in a conversation. If he sees the suspicion confirmed, he can use stress or long-term ECG, ultrasound and tomography to identify changes in the coronary arteries and the cause of the angina pectoris.
Angina Pectoris Treatment:
In the event of unstable angina pectoris (very severe pain, first occurrence), an emergency doctor should be called immediately. He or she can give the patient blood-thinning medication, which allows the blood to flow better. As a rule, the rescue team takes the victim straight to the hospital. The aim is to prevent a heart attack.
For people with stable, more frequent angina pectoris, there are special nitro preparations in the form of capsules or sprays. In the event of an attack, these ensure that the vessels expand and the heart is supplied with oxygen again. If that doesn’t work, a doctor should also be called here.
If the vessels are severely narrowed, a type of artificial diversion is created during a bypass operation. This allows the blood to flow again and the heart muscle receives sufficient oxygen.
The focus is also on treating the original disease that caused angina pectoris. The therapy can look different here depending on the disease. In the long term, however, those affected should definitely reduce possible risk factors. That means: a healthier diet, more exercise, losing weight and giving up alcohol and nicotine.
In the severe course of angina pectoris, the coronary vessels can die off due to the lack of oxygen. It comes to a heart attack and in the worst case to subsequent death. It is therefore all the more important that chest pain or tightness is taken very seriously and examined. People with a familial disposition should have regular checkups. This enables cardiovascular diseases to be identified and treated at an early stage. Angina pectoris does not have to come about in the first place.