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Angina Pain Treatment Questions and Answers

If you or a loved one are dealing with angina pain symptoms, our cardiologists and medical professionals at Sterling Health Care would be happy to provide high-quality angina pain treatment. Please feel free to call us or schedule an appointment online! We serve patients from Buffalo NY, Pine Hill NY, Sloan NY, Kenmore NY, Cleveland Hill NY, and KaiserTown NY.

Angina Pain Treatment Questions and Answers
Angina Pain Treatment Questions and Answers

No matter what the cause is, chest pain (angina) is always a cause for concern. As such, if you are dealing with angina pain or have had an angina attack in the past, it is essential to speak with a medical doctor or cardiologist about treatment options. At Sterling Heart Care, we would be happy to discuss our treatment options with you if you are looking for a cardiology clinic for help with angina pain.

What triggers angina?

The primary cause or trigger of angina, which is the medical term for chest pain, is insufficient blood flow to the heart. This lack of blood flow, in turn, results in insufficient oxygen supply, which causes the chest pain, or angina attack.

With that being said, numerous external triggers can lead to an insufficient amount of blood flow to the heart. Moreover, such triggers typically vary according to the type of angina that the individual is dealing with, namely, stable, unstable, or Prinzmetal’s angina. The specific triggers for each type of angina are listed as follows:

  • Stable angina: stable angina is typically triggered by physical activity, such as climbing stairs or exercising. However, it can also be triggered by emotional stress, extreme temperatures (either hot or cold), smoking, and heavy meals.
  • Unstable angina: unstable angina is typically caused or triggered by ruptured plaque in blood vessels or blood clots, wherein blood flow is severely restricted. This type of angina requires emergency room treatment, as it can quickly lead to a heart attack.
  • Prinzmetal’s angina: also called variant angina, this type of angina is caused by a narrowing or sudden spasm in the coronary artery, which can be triggered by emotional stress, exposure to extreme temperatures, cocaine use, medications that tighten blood vessels, and smoking. In contrast with stable angina, Prinzmetal’s angina typically occurs when the individual is at rest.
  • Microvascular angina: sometimes referred to as cardiac syndrome X (CSX), this type of angina occurs when the tiny blood vessels that feed your heart malfunction. Microvascular angina can occur either at rest or during physical activity.

Angina attacks can also occur as a result of various heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), uncontrolled hypertension, aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves), or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart).

How long do angina attacks last?

The length of time that an angina attack will last depends on the type and severity of angina that occurs. With that in mind, stable angina typically lasts around five minutes and rarely lasts longer than 15 minutes. In contrast, unstable angina attacks usually last longer than 20 minutes, while microvascular angina attacks can last 30 minutes or more. Prinzmetal’s angina attacks typically occur in clusters and usually last for 15 minutes or more.

If your angina attack lasts longer than five minutes and does not improve after taking medication, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency room, as it could be the early signs of a heart attack.

What does an angina attack feel like?

The most common symptoms of an angina attack include chest pain and shortness of breath (dyspnea). Concerning chest pain, it can be experienced as a tightening, pressure, discomfort, or vague pain in the center of the chest. As for shortness of breath, this feeling is often described as “air hunger” and can occur with the feeling of a panic attack, tightness in the throat, or a feeling of suffocation. Other symptoms of an angina attack can include the following:

  • Aching or discomfort in the arms, back, jaw, neck, or shoulder
  • Burning or cramping pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of heartburn or indigestion
  • Night sweats