The definition of angina, short for "angina pectoris" which is the Latin term for squeezing of the chest, is a discomfort in the chest that takes place when a decrease in blood oxygen supply occurs in the heart muscle.
Facts About Angina
- The shortage in blood oxygen supply is often a result of the narrowing of coronary arteries caused by arteriosclerosis.
- Exertion is a usual trigger for angina as is any emotional stress, eating a heavy meal or being exposed to extreme temperatures may cause angina attacks.
- Angina attacks can last between one and 15 minutes.
- Symptoms - Feeling of heaviness, tightening, squeezing, intense pressure, and aching pain across the chest or behind the breastbone. The pain will often radiate to the jaw neck, back, arms, and teeth.
- Types - Stable (caused by exertion), unstable (caused by little or no exertion) and variant (caused by a spasm of a coronary artery - rare and occurs without any symptoms).
- Causes - Coronary heart disease, hypertension, stress, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and heredity.
- Treatments - Nitrates, quitting smoking, managing weight, stress management, resting, checking cholesterol levels, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
An example of angina is chest pain that lasts for just a few minutes and is relieved when you rest.