Experts believe that nearly 7 million people in the United States have Angina, and Angina occurs equally in men and women. Not all chest pain or discomfort is a sign of Coronary Heart Disease. So, what exactly is Angina?
Angina is chest pain that occurs when an area of the heart muscle doesn’t get enough of the oxygen-rich blood it needs. Angina can feel like squeezing or pressure in the chest, and the pain can also occur in the shoulders, neck, arms, jaw or back. Angina can also feel like indigestion.
Although Angina might seem like a disease, it’s actually a symptom of an underlying heart problem. In fact, Angina is usually a symptom of Coronary Heart Disease. Coronary Heart Disease is the most common type of heart disease in adults. Coronary Heart Disease occurs when a waxy substance known as plaque builds up in the inner walls of the coronary arteries. Those arteries are the ones that carry vital oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
That plaque can stiffen and narrow the coronary arteries, reducing oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart, which causes Angina, or chest pain. Plaque buildup also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in arteries. Heart attacks occur when those blood clots completely or partially block blood flow.
Angina can also be a sympton of Coronary Microvascular Disease. This is when heart disease affects the heart’s smallest coronary arteries. In Coronary Microvascular Disease, plaque isn’t the source of blockages in arteries.
Types of Angina
The four main types of Angina are stable Angina, unstable Angina, variant (Prinzmetal’s) Angina, and microvascular Angina. Knowing how the types are different is very important because they have different symptoms, and they also require different types of treatments.
Stable Angina is the most common type of Angina. Stable Angina occurs when the heart is working harder than usual but still has a regular pattern. Those with Stable Angina can learn its pattern: how it occurs, how severe it is, and what factors trigger it. Stable Angina isn’t a heart attack, but it’s an indicator that a heart attack is more likely to happen in the future.
Unstable Angina is the type of Angina that doesn’t follow a pattern (like Stable Angina). Unstable Angina occurs more often, and it can be more severe than Stable Angina. Unstable Angina can occur without physical exertion, and rest and medicine may not be able to relieve the pain of Unstable Angina.
Unstable Angina is often very dangerous and requires emergency treatment. Unstable Angina is often a sign that a heart attack may happen soon.
Variant (Prinzmetal’s) Angina
Variant Angina is rare. This type of Angina is caused by a spasm in the coronary artery, and it usually occurs while the person is at rest. The pain of Variant Angina can be severe, and it usually happens between midnight and early morning. Luckily, Variant Angina can be relieved with medication.
Microvascular Angina can be more severe, and it can last longer than other variations of Angina.
Those with Angina should wear Medical ID Jewelry in the event an Angina escalates to a heart attack. It’s vital that First Responders know the patient has Angina in order to accurately treat him or her.
When deciding on what to engrave on your Medical ID, it’s important to be specific. Paramedics, ER Personnel and First Responders need to know exactly what they’re dealing with in order to accurately treat the condition, especially when the patient is also on blood thinners.
Some examples include:
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