04 Nov

What is Angina and Causes of Angina – AC

Angina is a condition which causes chest pain or irritation that happen when your heart muscle doesn't get much blood containing oxygen.

Angina can give you feeling of pressure or a squeezing in your chest. The pain can pass to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain can cause a pinching pain the stomach.

Angina is not a disease but a symptom of a heart problem such as coronary heart disease (CHD).

CHD is a type of heart disease in adults. This happens when a blockage (Plaque) is formed In the inner walls of the coronary arteries. These arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

Coronary arteries are narrowed and stiffened by plaque, which in turn reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. This causes chest pain. Blood clots may also formed after the formation of plaque, which leads to a heart attack.

Angina is also a symptom of coronary microvascular disease (MVD). It affects the heart’s smallest coronary arteries. In coronary MVD, plaque doesn't form blockages in the arteries like it does in CHD.



There are three types of angina, which include:

Stable (or chronic) angina

It happens when the heart is working harder than normal, such as during marathon or exercise. It has a regular pattern.It can remain for months or years. Symptoms are levied by having rest or taking medication.

Unstable angina

It does not follow a regular pattern. It can even occur while resting and cannot be relieved by common medications. It can also lead to heart attack or stroke.

Variant (Prinzmetal's) angina and microvascular (smallest vessels) angina

It is rare condition which occurs even while having rest, without having a heart disease. It is caused by abnormal narrowing of the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the heart. It can be cured by medications.


Angina is the result or a symptom of a coronary artery disease. Oxygen rich blood is supplied by the coronary arteries. When cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the artery, hard plaques are formed which narrows the artery.

It is difficult for oxygen rich blood to reach the heart muscle because the arteries become too narrow. Some other factors like smoking etc. may increase the plaque formation. These plaques tend to narrow the arteries which can break off and form blood clots that block the arteries.

Physical exertion is a trigger for stable angina, because the heart wants more oxygen than usual in these conditions. Severe emotional stress, a heavy meal, exposure to extreme temperatures, and smoking may also trigger angina.

Unstable angina is caused by blood clots that partially or totally block an artery. Further blockages can cause to heart attacks.

Variant angina is caused when a spasm is experienced by an artery which makes it to tighten and narrow, reducing blood supply to the heart. This can be triggered by exposure to cold, stress, medicines, smoking, or cocaine use.



Symptoms associated with angina include:

  •     Chest pain or discomfort
  •     Pain in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back accompanying chest pain
  •     Nausea
  •     Fatigue
  •     Shortness of breath
  •     Sweating
  •     Dizziness

There are currently four types of medications used to treat stable angina:

  •     NITRATES
  •     Sublingual nitroglycerin
  •     Isosorbide dinitrate — ISDN
  •     Isosorbide-5-mononitrate — ISMN
  •     Transdermal nitroglycerin — Transdermal NTG


  •     Propranolol    
  •     atenolol and metoprolol)
  •     acebutolol and pindolol
  •     labetalol or carvedilol


  •     Dihydropyridines
  •     Verapamil
  •     Diltiazem



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