Angina pectoris,Disease,AcuTreatment,Cure Without Medicine,acute coronary syndrome,Pain,

Angina pectoris, commonly known as angina, is the sensation of chest pain, pressure, or squeezing, often due to ischemia of theheart muscle from obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries. While angina pectoris can derive from anemiaabnormal heart rhythms and heart failure, its main cause is coronary artery disease, an atherosclerotic process affecting the arteries feeding theheart. The term derives from the Latin angere ("to strangle") and pectus ("chest"), and can therefore be translated as "a strangling feeling in the chest".

Angina pectoris

Angina pectoris

There is a weak relationship between severity of pain and degree of oxygen deprivation in the heart muscle (i.e., there can be severe pain with little or no risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and a heart attack can occur without pain). In some cases, angina can be quite severe, and in the early 20th century this was known to be a signal of impending death. However, given current medical therapies, the outlook has improved substantially. People with an average age of 62 years, who have moderate to severe degrees of angina (grading by classes II, III and IV) have a 5-year mortality rate of approximately 8%.

Worsening ("crescendo") angina attacks, sudden-onset angina at rest, and angina lasting more than 15 minutes are symptoms ofunstable angina (usually grouped with similar conditions as the acute coronary syndrome). As these may precede a heart attack, they require urgent medical attention and are, in general, treated in similar fashion to myocardial infarction.


Stable angina

Illustration depicting angina

Illustration depicting angina

Also known as effort angina, this refers to the classic type of angina related to myocardial ischemia. A typical presentation of stable angina is that of Chest discomfort and associated symptoms precipitated by some activity (running, walking, etc.) with minimal or non-existent symptoms at rest or after administration of sublingual nitroglycerin. Symptoms typically abate several minutes after activity and recur when activity resumes. In this way, stable angina may be thought of as being similar to intermittent claudication symptoms. Other recognized precipitants of stable angina include cold weather, heavy meals, and emotional stress.

Unstable angina

Unstable angina (UA) (also "crescendo angina"; this is a form of acute coronary syndrome) is defined as angina pectoris that changes or worsens.

It has at least one of these three features:

  1. it occurs at rest (or with minimal exertion), usually lasting 3–5 minutes
  2. it is severe and of new onset (i.e., within the prior 4–6 weeks)
  3. it occurs with a crescendo pattern (i.e., distinctly more severe, prolonged, or frequent than before).

UA may occur unpredictably at rest, which may be a serious indicator of an impending heart attack. What differentiates stable angina from unstable angina (other than symptoms) is the pathophysiology of the atherosclerosis. The pathophysiology of unstable angina is the reduction of coronary flow due to transient platelet aggregation on apparently normal endothelium, coronary artery spasms, or coronary thrombosis. The process starts with atherosclerosis, progresses through inflammation to yield an active unstable plaque, which undergoes thrombosis and results in acute myocardial ischemia, which, if not reversed, results in cell necrosis (infarction). Studies show that 64% of all unstable anginas occur between 10 PM and 8 AM when patients are at rest.

In stable angina, the developing atheroma is protected with a fibrous cap. This cap may rupture in unstable angina, allowing blood clots to precipitate and further decrease the area of the coronary vessel’s lumen. This explains why, in many cases, unstable angina develops independently of activity.

Cardiac syndrome X

Cardiac syndrome X, sometimes known as microvascular angina is characterized by angina-like chest pain, in the context of normal epicardial coronary arteries (the largest vessels on the surface of the heart, prior to significant branching) on angiography. The original definition of cardiac syndrome X also mandated that ischemic changes on exercise (despite normal coronary arteries) were displayed, as shown on cardiac stress tests. The primary cause of cardiac syndrome X is unknown, but factors which appear to be involved are endothelial dysfunction and reduced flow (perhaps due to spasm) in the tiny "resistance" blood vessels of the heart. Since microvascular angina is not characterized by major arterial blockages, it is harder to recognize and diagnose. Microvascular angina was previously felt to be a rather benign condition, but more recent data has changed this attitude. Studies including the Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) suggest that microvascular angina is part of the pathophysiology of ischemic heart disease, perhaps explaining the higher rates of angina in women than in men, as well as their predilection towards ischemia and acute coronary syndromes in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease.

Signs and symptoms

Angina pectoris can be quite painful, but many patients with angina complain of chest discomfort rather than actual pain: the discomfort is usually described as a pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, burning, or choking sensation. Apart from chest discomfort, anginal pains may also be experienced in the epigastrium (upper central abdomen), back, neck area, jaw, or shoulders. This is explained by the concept of referred pain, and is due to the fact that the spinal level that receives visceral sensation from the heart simultaneously receives cutaneous sensation from parts of the skin specified by that spinal nerve’s dermatome, without an ability to discriminate the two. Typical locations forreferred pain are arms (often inner left arm), shoulders, and neck into the jaw. Angina is typically precipitated by exertion or emotional stress. It is exacerbated by having a full stomach and by cold temperatures. Pain may be accompanied by breathlessness, sweating, and nausea in some cases. In this case, the pulse rate and the blood pressure increases. Chest pain lasting only a few seconds is normally not angina (such as precordial catch syndrome).

Myocardial ischemia comes about when the myocardia (the heart muscles) receive insufficient blood and oxygen to function normally either because of increased oxygen demand by the myocardia or because of decreased supply to the myocardia. This inadequate perfusion of blood and the resulting reduced delivery of oxygen and nutrients are directly correlated to blocked or narrowed blood vessels.

One response to “Angina pectoris”

  1. Katie says:

    Great article.

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