Angina attack is characterized by pressure and squeezing feeling in chest area. Though it is not a disease but is a signal that heart is not working normally. It is most commonly regarded as a symptom for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which occurs when the coronary arteries fail to supply oxygenated blood to heart due to deposits on their inner walls. It is more common in people above 50. Angina is more common in men. The common causes include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anemia etc.
Angina Attack vs Heart Attack
Angina attack is caused by a medical condition called myocardial ischemia which arises when the heart muscles do not get enough oxygen. Though the blood supply to heart remains normal but oxygen supply doesn’t meet the requirements. The conditions like physical exertion or emotional excitement require increased oxygen supply to heart and can trigger the angina attack. The pain in chest caused by angina attack does not cause any permanent damage to heart because it is mild.
As opposed to it, heart attack is caused by insufficient blood supply to parts of heart. It is caused by blockage due to plaque deposits in any artery. The blockage can also be due to a blood clot in the artery. The pain in case of heart attack is severer and can even cause permanent damage or death.
Symptoms of Angina Attack
The most prominent symptoms of angina attack include a pain in chest, or a feeling of heaviness or tightness in middle of the chest. It is usually triggered by physical exertion, walking after meals, in cold, or due to stress. Pain may also extend to shoulders, throat, jaws, and neck. The victim may also feel difficulty in breathing, choking, and sweating. The pain usually lasts for a few minutes. In that case, you need to take rest and then visit a doctor.
Treatment for Angina Attack
The condition is diagnosed through some tests like blood tests, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and angiogram. Treatment mostly involves medicines, and in some cases, surgery is performed. A nitrate drug is used for relief against the pain. It is either used as a spray or in tablet form, to be kept under the tongue. Then aspirin is used against the risk of blood clotting and medicines are also given to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol level. In severe conditions, surgery may be performed which can be of two types. In case of angioplasty, a small balloon is threaded into an artery and when it reaches the blocked area, the balloon is inflated to widen the artery. Second way is to perform bypass surgery by using the veins from leg or chest to bypass the blocked artery and maintain normal blood circulation.
Those who have suffered from angina attack need to bring changes in their lifestyle, like avoiding high cholesterol food, doing regular exercise, quitting smoking and maintaining normal weight. Moreover, take prescribed medications regularly.