People who are living with stable angina can, with their doctor’s blessing, participate in aerobic exercise as part of a treatment plan. Medications can and do have their place in helping to relieve the symptoms of angina, and a combination of the right drug and an active lifestyle can help to train the heart to work more efficiently.
Angina symptoms include feeling pressure or a heaviness in the chest area. It may also cause the patient to experience a burning sensation. This condition is caused when the heart is not getting enough blood.
Unstable angina can happen at any time, and may be caused by a blood clot blocking off a coronary artery. Stable angina occurs when the coronary arteries become partially blocked.
A person with stable angina may experience episodes of chest pain when he or she is exercising, since the increased activity means that the heart must pump harder and needs more oxygen to meet the increased demands the individual is placing on it. If the patient has been diagnosed with stable angina, a program of exercise therapy can help to relieve the symptoms.
Exercise for People with Stable Angina
Regular aerobic exercise, such as walking on a treadmill, can be beneficial for people who have been diagnosed with stable angina. The goal is to engage in a low-intensity activity so that the cardiovascular system is trained to become more efficient. Over time, the goal is for the individual to be able to exercise at a more intense rate without feeling chest pain or heaviness.
Before starting an exercise program for angina, the individual should consult a doctor. The physician may order a stress test to get an idea of the patient’s exercise capacity. The test will also provide information about the level of exercise that will trigger an angina attack.
Once the doctor has determined the right level of intensity for a patient, he or she will be given a prescription to follow. Rather than directions for taking a particular medication, the prescription will be for the level of exercise intensity that is safe for that person when performing aerobic activities. For most people, exercising at an intensity putting the person at 60-75 percent of the highest safe heart rate is recommended.
Using a treadmill for exercise is a good choice for stable angina patients. The patient can set the level of intensity to a rate recommended by his or her doctor. Many models include a heart rate indicator on the control panel, which makes it easy for the individual to make sure that he or she is working out at the right level of intensity without overdoing it.