What is Angina and How it is Important?

Any time you feel pain or discomfort, it’s your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. When it occurs in your chest in the form of angina, you should sit up and take notice as this condition may be signaling developing heart disease.

At Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, under the expert direction of Dr. Rajiv Agarawal, we specialize in cardiovascular issues and we understand the serious implications that come with conditions like angina. The good news is that there’s a lot we can do to address the underlying issues that lead to angina

Here’s a look at why you should never ignore chest pain.

Distinguishing angina

There are several different conditions that can lead to pain and discomfort in your chest, from indigestion (think heartburn) to far more serious conditions like heart disease.

To give you a better idea about what angina can feel like, here are the most common complaints:

In addition to the discomfort in your chest, these symptoms may also crop up in your:

In most cases, these symptoms come on after you exert yourself and then subside when you’re at rest.

It’s important to note that women may experience angina differently due to a separate underlying problem (more on that in a moment). In addition to the chest pain, many women also experience:

Whatever the combination of symptoms, if you’re experiencing any of the above, we urge you to come in so that we can take a closer look.

Behind angina

The primary cause of angina is heart disease, which develops when your blood vessels have blockages in them that prevent your heart from getting the oxygen-rich blood it needs.

In men, heart disease is most often caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). In women, the problem may be slightly different in that the blockages may affect the smaller arteries that branch out from the main coronary arteries. This type of condition is known as microvascular disease (MVD).

This doesn't mean that all men with angina have CAD and all women have MVD, but studies show that 50% of women with anginal symptoms have no coronary obstructions.

In either case, these blockages are depriving your heart muscle of the oxygen it needs for optimal function, which can set the stage for life-threatening conditions like heart attack.

Heeding the wake-up call

We’re going to begin this discussion with one important statistic — 80% of heart disease is preventable, but early intervention is key.

If you’re experiencing angina, Dr. Agarawal performs an extensive diagnostic exam that may include one or more of the following:

Once the doctor has a better idea of what’s causing your angina, he can guide you through the next steps for reversing the problem.

If you’re experiencing angina, please contact our office in Humble, Texas, as soon as possible so that we can get you on the road to better heart health.

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