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What are the main causes of Angina Pain?

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.

What are the main causes of Angina Pain?
What are the main causes of Angina Pain?

While angina pain is relatively common, it should always be taken seriously, no matter what the cause or trigger is. At Sterling Heart Care, our cardiologists and medical professionals provide excellent angina pain treatment to help ensure your heart is as healthy as possible!

What is Angina Pain?

Angina pain, also called angina pectoris, is the medical term for chest pain that occurs when the heart receives an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood. It can range from mild and temporary to life-threatening or chronic, depending on the type, trigger, and cause of the pain.

What are the main causes of Angina Pain?

The most common cause of angina pain is coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the medical term for the build-up of plaque in the heart’s arteries, causing limited or insufficient blood flow to the heart. Other causes of angina pain include the following:

  • Aortic dissection (tearing of a major artery)
  • Aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valves)
  • Coronary artery spasm
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
  • Lung infection
  • Panic attack
  • Pericarditis (inflammation in the tissues surrounding the heart)
  • Pulmonary embolism (lung artery blockage)
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension)

Various types of angina pain can also be triggered by the following:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Cocaine use
  • Emotional stress
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold
  • Heavy meals
  • Medications that tighten blood vessels
  • Smoking

What are the 3 types of angina?

Knowing the types of angina and how they differ is important for knowing how and when to respond. The three main types of angina, along with the ways they are different, are listed as follows:

  • Stable angina: this type of angina is typically triggered by physical activity, but it can also occur due to emotional stress, exposure to extreme cold or hot weather, smoking, or heavy meals. In general, it usually lasts around five minutes, and only rarely does it last longer than 15 minutes. The pain begins in the chest and can spread to the arms, back, jaw, neck, or shoulders and is often experienced as a burning sensation similar to heartburn or indigestion. It can be treated with nitroglycerin or rest.
  • Unstable angina: unstable angina is a much more severe type of angina attack and should be treated as a medical emergency as it could signal a heart attack. It often occurs suddenly and when the individual is at rest due to a blood clot or ruptured plaque inside the blood vessel. Unstable angina attacks typically last 20 minutes or longer, are not relieved by rest or nitroglycerin, and may worsen over time. Pain from an unstable angina attack is often experienced as extremely intense pressure on your chest, comparable to a heavy weight lying on top of it or a vise squeezing it.
  • Variant angina: also referred to as Prinzmetal’s angina, variant angina attacks are caused by spasms in the coronary artery, which can be brought about by cocaine use, medications that tighten blood vessels, exposure to cold weather, or stress. These attacks typically occur in clusters when the individual is at rest, either during the night or in the early morning. Variant angina attacks can usually be treated with medication.

Another type of angina attack is microvascular angina, or cardiac syndrome X (CSX), which occurs due to malfunctioning tiny blood vessels that feed the heart. Pain with microvascular angina is typically severe, unpredictable, and can last for 30 minutes or more. Treatment for microvascular angina typically involves medication and lifestyle changes.

Where is the pain of angina felt?

While angina pain is felt primarily in the chest, it can also be felt in the arms, back, jaw, neck, and shoulders. In severe angina cases, it can be felt as a crushing or constricting pressure on the chest, while more mild cases may feel like heartburn or indigestion.