It is a type of chest pain that occurs when there is a lack of blood supply to an area of the cardiac muscle.
Chronic angina is a diseaseChronic angina is not a disease; it only shows that the heart is not getting proper blood supply, indicating partial blockages. Coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease is the main cause of angina, a condition that damages the arteries. Over a period of time, which could be a number of years, arteries to the heart are narrowed or blocked with fatty deposits or atheroma causing pain in the chest, which is called angina. Coronary artery disease (CAD) or coronary heart disease (CHD) is caused as a result of high blood pressure, stress, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and other genetic factors.The symptoms of angina are the same for everybodyAngina is experienced with different symptoms and is not the same for everybody. The primary symptoms of chronic angina are shortness of breath, pain in the chest or arm, discomfort behind the shoulder, back, neck or jaw, fatigue, nausea, sweating, weakness and light headedness. These are too generic and inconclusive symptoms of angina. Stress, fatigue, high blood pressure and anxiety attacks have exactly the same symptoms. If proper sleep and rest do not drive away the symptoms, the physician may prescribe nitroglycerines. Angina can be suspected if the symptoms persist.Men are more likely to get heart diseaseHeart disease is definitely not a male disease and women are ten times more prone to heart disease than breast cancer. Especially after menopause, hormone replacement treatment can cause coronary heart disease in women. The study of the effect of the female hormones on the muscles of the heart is still going on, but after five years of the study, hormone replacement treatment for menopause has been described as risky for the heart. Again, women who smoke and use contraceptives are more likely to get heart disease. The species most affected by heart disease are all humans, male or female, and in equal percentages.Heart disease is a disease of middle age and older yearsThis is a dangerous myth; the roots of coronary artery disease lie in childhood and younger years when the diet and lifestyle destroy the health of the heart. Adopting a healthy lifestyle of nutritious, heart healthy diet and an active exercise regime right from childhood can keep the arteries and the heart healthy. Factors like high blood pressure, stress, diabetes, heavy drinking, hypertension, obesity and genetic factors pose a greater risk than age. Coronary heart disease strikes hardest in men above 55 years and women above 65 years but awareness and changes in lifestyle have improved the statistics.The interruption of angina spells a downhill of doomThis is not at all true. Angina is only a warning signal that tells you to change your lifestyle. Discuss with your cardiologist about how angina affects you and work out a plan to lead a healthier lifestyle and learn to manage stress to stop any further deterioration. Family support is crucial to get over fears. Depression is very common after the diagnosis, but remember, nothing is lost. Making small changes in your lifestyle can even reverse the conditions. Take the support of your family for avoiding stressful situations and focus on service-oriented activities.Angina is a mini heart attackAngina is not a heart attack at all, as many people believe. When the muscles of the heart are deprived of sufficient oxygen, it sends signals of pain to show distress. In a heart attack, the blood supply to the heart is completely cut off and makes it behave erratically. Angina or chest pain is of two types: stable and unstable. When you experience chest pain under emotional stress or anxiety, it is Stable Angina. Unstable Angina is more risky as it does not show up any physical symptoms and can occur suddenly. Many of the symptoms for angina and heart attack are common, leading to this misconception.Exercise is harmfulRegular exercise is one of the most important measures in the prevention of heart disease. Men and women, who walk for 30 minutes, three times a week, reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent. Many people think that exercise is not safe for heart patients. Moderate exercise improves blood circulation, reduces pain and increases mobility. Of course, that doesn’t mean that one should plunge into vigorous exercise. That can be fatal after a long period of inactivity. But a suitable program under medical supervision is absolutely essential. Exercise can actually grow extra blood vessels around the blockage called collaterals that supplies more blood to the heart.Downsizing lifestyle is the only way to manage anginaAngina can be managed much better now than 15 years back. Now we have medications to relax blood vessels, prevent clotting and lower blood pressure and heart rate. The doctor may advice angioplasty, which is a minor procedure to ease the blockage. However, medication or angioplasty cannot cure heart disease. This, coupled with lifestyle changes, can reverse the condition. The cardiologist prescribes a combination of medication, lifestyle and simple procedures like angioplasty to overcome angina. Modern cardiac rehabilitation helps patients live a full and vigorous life even after a heart attack.Lifestyle changes cannot affect the frequency of anginaCut down nicotine and alcohol to bring down the risk of a recurrence of angina. Smoking makes blood vessels narrower and triggers blood clotting. Cutting down smoking immediately brings down the risk by nearly 27%. Large meals make you feel stuffed and triggers angina, small frequent meals are better. Lose weight if you are obese, reduce stress with calming techniques, exercise moderately, cut down hydrogenated fats and include fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. These measures reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels that minimize the risk of a recurrence of angina.You need to get sweatyThis myth grew from the advice of well meaning cardiologists who advocated aerobics two or three times a week to keep you and your heart healthy. However, this advice is for healthy people. The rules change completely for chronic angina patients. Diving into strenuous paces of aerobics can be fatal. Exercising regularly and moderately under the supervision of a medical professional is the safest route. Intense workouts tend to stress the heart and raise the blood pressure for a short time; this may cause a spasm in the artery to the heart in heart patients.Physical examination or an electrocardiograph can detect heart diseasePhysical examination of the heart in someone who may be suffering from angina is seldom helpful in detecting heart disease. The electrocardiogram cannot predict heart disease especially when the pain or the attack of angina has subsided. It can only show signs of stress. This coupled with several risk factors like age, gender, a history of diabetes or hypertension, habits like smoking or obesity can help the doctor to suspect heart disease. Tests like a stress test or radioisotope imaging of the heart is the next step that can confirm heart disease.