What is Angina?

by Jodee on April 2, 2009

Angina is a type of chest pain that occurs when part of the heart doesn’t get enough blood. It may feel like pressure in the front of the chest area, and the discomfort may spread down the left arm. In some cases, the right arm is affected. A doctor will suspect that you have angina if you have chest pain that gets worse when you exert yourself and stops if you rest for a few minutes.

This condition produces the same type of pain that a heart attack does, but unlike a heart attack, it doesn’t cause any damage to the heart. When someone has a heart attack, the affected area is permanently damaged due to lack of blood flow with scar tissue. It is an sign of atherosclerosis, and is something that should be taken seriously. Angina is more common in men than women, and your risk of developing this condition increases as you get older.

Family history also plays a role in risk factors for angina. If a close relative has suffered a heart attack, especially before the age of 50, your chances of heart issues increase as well. Having high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes also put you in a higher-risk category.

How to Lower Your Risk of Angina

When it comes to lowering your risk of angina, there are several things you can do. Taking good care of your health by eating a low-fat diet will help. You will also want to make a point of exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Quitting smoking will lower your risk, as well.

Some doctors will recommend taking an Aspirin a day to prevent angina, especially if you are a man over the age of 40 or a woman who has gone through menopause.

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