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6 Effective Angina Treatment

6 Effective Angina Treatment



Angina, or angina pectoris, is chest pain or discomfort due to reduced blood supply inadequate to meet the oxygen needs of the contracting heart muscle. Sometimes even normal blood flow may be insufficient if there is increased demand for oxygen by the heart muscle, such as due to physical exertion. Angina pain may be felt in a variety of ways as pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, or outright pain in the chest. Sometimes the pain may radiate to the shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back. The pain may be accompanied by nausea, breathlessness, sweating, anxiety and dizziness.

Angina occurs due to spasm or obstruction of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, the coronary arteries. Very often it is due to the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque inside the coronary arteries, narrowing their lumen and reducing the blood flow. Older age, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, obesity and physical inactivity are risk factors for angina. Angina is usually short-lasting and relieved on taking rest or medicine. Over time, angina may precipitate into a heart attack.



6 Effective Angina Treatment

Angina is usually treated with lifestyle changes, medications, medical procedures, surgery, and other therapies. The goals of treatment are reduction in the severity and frequency of symptoms and lowering of the risk for heart attack and even death.

Lifestyle Changes

quit smoking

Lifestyle changes help reduce the frequency of angina attacks. If you are a smoker, you have to quit smoking. You should avoid even secondhand smoke. Keep diabetes in check with the right diet and exercise. Lower your intake of cholesterol if its blood level is high.

Reduce weight if you are obese. Become more physically active and avoid sedentary habits. A good physical exercise is 30 minutes of brisk walking every day. Avoid stress as far as you can. Find ways to relax, such as meditation or relaxation exercises.

Medications

Medications

If angina is brought on despite the above lifestyle changes, then you need to be on medication. There are a variety of medications that can be tried. Nitroglycerin, nicorandil, and isosorbide mononitrate dilate the blood vessels and increase the oxygen supply to the heart. Beta-blockers, such as propranolol, atenolol, and carvedilol, help by decreasing the workload of the heart and thus reducing its oxygen requirements.

Calcium channel blockers, such as nifedipine and amlodipine, and ACE inhibitors also help by dilating the blood vessels. Daily aspirin can prevent blood clots, making it easier for blood to flow through the blood vessels. Statins, such as atorvastatin or simvastatin, may be prescribed to lower your cholesterol levels. You may be put on one or more of these medications for acute attacks and to forestall future attacks.

Medical Procedures

Angioplasty

If medicines cannot control your angina, then you will need to undergo certain medical procedures to address the underlying disease of the heart. Angioplasty is a procedure in which a catheter with a balloon at the end is passed through a leg or arm vein into the coronary arteries, to open up the narrowed or blocked segments of those arteries. This can be combined with the placement of a stent (a tiny mesh tube) in the artery after the angioplasty, to maintain the patency.

Counterpulsation Therapy

Counterpulsation therapy is given in sync with the heartbeat. It is done by successively inflating and deflating the cuffs put on the legs. This increases the blood flow to the heart. Each session of treatment lasts 1 hour. You need to take 35 such sessions of treatment over a period of 7 weeks.

Counterpulsation Therapy

Surgery

Surgery is the last resort, particularly when more than two coronary arteries are blocked, with some of them being blocked 75-90% or more. The surgery is referred to as coronary artery bypass. The narrowed portions of the coronary arteries are literally bypassed by grafts taken from healthy veins or arteries in other parts of the body, such as the thighs.

Surgery

Alternative Medicine

Supplements of L-arginine and L-carnitine are thought to help by reducing the swelling in the coronary arteries. Since these supplements can interact with other medications you may be taking, consult your doctor before trying them.

Supplements of L-arginine


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