Angina

The Heart condition known as angina is discomfort or pain from the heart. It is usually due to hardening and furring up of the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis) so heart muscle cells do not receive enough oxygen-rich blood, especially during exercise or times of stress.

If the blood flow is interrupted for a sufficient period of time, permanent damage can occur to the heart muscle, myocardial infarction, (Heart Attack).

It may be brought on by exertion, heavy meals or cold weather, and is relieved by rest. Angina mainly affects men over the age of 50 and postmenopausal women, but can occur as early as 30, particularly in the presence of any other cardiac risk factors.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • A dull, heavy, tight and crushing, feeling felt around the chest felt behind the breastbone, in the middle of the chest.
  • The pain may radiate through the chest and spread to the throat, jaw, back and arms (usually the left arm) or between the shoulder blades.
  • Angina may be accompanied by, sweating, dizziness, nausea, a shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing and "ash gray" skin and blueness of the lips.


ACTIONS

  • Stop immediately and rest if you feel any symptoms.
  • Take only prescribed medicine for your Angina condition in recommended doses, normally a glyceryl tri nitrate tablet or spray under the tongue. If you have no reactions to aspirin, and you are fully conscious, then chew on half a tablet.
  • If the pain does not ease, or returns in a few minutes, then seek immediate medical attention, ideally at a Hospital.


PREVENTION

  • A number of preventive measures can help prevent angina, these include:
  • Avoiding excessive stress.
  • If you smoke, aim to stop immediately.
  • A healthier diet that is low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Regular exercise, staying within monitored tolerance levels, seek advice from your doctor.
  • Aim to eat oily fish, or omega-3 fish-oil supplements, garlic-powder tablets and vitamin E (400iu daily).
  • If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, follow your doctors advice, to ensure these conditions are well controlled.
  • Always carry your medication with you, and if necessary take your prescribed medication before any exertion.

Always seek medical advice, especially if you suffer from more than two angina attacks in a week.

Additional medical conditions:

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