Angina Pectoris

What Is Angina Pectoris?

Angina Pectoris is a medical term for chest discomfort or pain as a result of coronary heart disease. It occurs when the heart does not receive sufficient blood, most probably due to one or more arteries of the heart getting blocked.

Due to the insufficient blood flow to the heart, heart cells are starved of oxygen and begin to die. When a large number of heart cells die, the individual dies.

Angina Pectoris is also known as stable angina and is one of the most common kinds of angina. Stable angina has a predictable pattern of chest pain.

Angina Pectoris

Angina Types

There are many types of angina. The most prominent ones are:

  • Stable Angina – Also known as Angina Pectoris.
  • Unstable Angina – This condition is characterized by unexpected chest pain during rest. Unlike stable angina, unstable angina occurs unpredictably. It also changes in frequency and may get worse over time.
  • Variant Angina – Also known as Prinzmetal’s variant angina or Angina inversa. It is usually rare and typically occurs in younger patients who have other pre-existing heart conditions. It generally occurs while resting, specifically during the night or early morning.
  • Microvascular Angina – This condition affects the heart’s smallest coronary arteries. It is brought about by spasms within the walls of the blood vessels. The pain may be more severe and last much longer than other types of angina.

When does Angina Pectoris occur?

Medical conditions, such as Atherosclerosis, cause the walls of the blood vessels to become narrow, thereby decreasing the flow of blood. During resting, the narrowed arteries allow enough blood to reach the heart. However, the heart requires more blood than it receives during emotional stress or strenuous physical activity. Such conditions require the heart to work harder, thereby causing angina pectoris.

Signs and Symptoms of Angina Pectoris

The pain or inconvenience in the chest :

  • Occurs when the heart needs to work harder, mostly during physical exertion.
  • A series of pain tends to occur. However, it does not come by surprise.
  • The pain lasts typically for a shorter period.
  • The chest pain radiates to the shoulders, arms, and back.
  • Indigestion

Further Reading: Indigestion Definition

How is Angina Pectoris Diagnosed?

Doctors usually ask about the patient’s medical history and perform tests to diagnose Angina pectoris. The tests typically involved are:

  • Angiography – A kind of X-ray in which both the blood vessels and blood flow to the heart can be examined.
  • Electrocardiogram – This evaluates heart rhythm and measures the electrical activity of the heart.

These tests could identify if any arteries are blocked and whether the heart is functioning appropriately.

Angina Pectoris Treatment

Treatment of angina pectoris involves changes in lifestyle, surgery, and medication. One could typically predict this discomfort when there is the pain in the chest and by reducing physical exertion helps to control the chest pain. Some lifestyle adjustments may involve regular exercise and follow a healthy diet of vegetables and whole grains. These habits could reduce the risk of chronic diseases like high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes. Apart from these, the intake of alcohol, drugs and the use of tobacco should be avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What are the early signs of angina?

Angina symptoms include

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

2. What are the various types of angina?

Angina is of many types. The most prominent are:

  • Stable Angina
  • Unstable Angina
  • Variant Angina
  • Microvascular Angina

3. Can a person die from angina pectoris?

If this condition is diagnosed, then it indicates that the person is at an increased risk of cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death.


4. How do doctors diagnose angina pectoris?

Angina can be diagnosed with the help of an ECG- an instrument designed to record the electrical activity of the heart.


5. Does Angina pectoris increase with exercise?

Angina can be induced with strenuous activity. However, if carefully supervised exercise programs are performed, it can prove quite beneficial for heart health

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Also Read: Heart Attack Symptoms


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