What Are Angina Attacks?

Angina, in and of itself, is not a heart attack. It is a pain which occurs when the muscular wall of the heart is lacking oxygen. If you are exercising, and there is an increased demand for oxygen, for example, the oxygen requirement falls, and pain occurs.

The pain in the center of your chest is the first sign. It can spread to your throat and upper jaw, back, and left arm. While it is a dull pain, exuding pressure and seems constricting, it mostly occurs when you are physically active, and subsides when you are at rest.

It is a common condition, and usually occurs in men after age thirty, but is recognized as coronary artery disease. More of a symptom than a disease, angina can be as serious as the condition which caused it in the first place. The risk of a heart attack is there, especially when the heart is deprived of oxygen it cannot function. If the angina becomes more frequent while active, you may have to slow down to avoid the pain.

If you think you are having angina attacks, it is important to see your cardiologist. It may be that there are other problems which are causing the problem. These could be a spasm of the esophagus; muscle tension; or other similar problems. Once your physician determines the cause, he or she may prescribe medication to help relieve the pain.

Another recommendation may be to time the angina attacks. If they last more than five minutes after you stop exercising or engaging in similar activity, or if the frequency of attacks is longer in length or severity; or the attacks occur when you are at rest, those more traditional methods will be used to determine the extent of the coronary artery disease.

Among the many tests your doctor may perform are blood tests to determine if you have hyperthyroidism; anemia; or other causes of the chest pain. If you have diabetes, this can be one of the contributory causes since you would be more susceptible to coronary disease.

In order to help yourself in preventing additional pain, quit smoking; eat healthy meals that are low in fat; have regular cholesterol blood tests; keep your blood pressure down; and exercise. Although angina can be treated, coronary artery disease cannot be cured. Perhaps a change in your lifestyle is in order as well.

Angina attacks in men are common, but it doesn’t mean you have to curtail your activities or become sedentary. It is important to be aware of your body; it always seems to give you signs and signals if there is a problem. Don’t ignore them; but listen to what your body is telling you. It may make all the difference.