Angina: Understanding Causes and Symptoms

Angina: Understanding Causes and Symptoms

Angina is a condition characterized by chest pain or discomfort, often indicative of an underlying heart issue. It serves as a warning sign that the heart muscle is not receiving enough blood and oxygen.

In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of angina, shedding light on this crucial aspect of cardiovascular health.

Causes of Angina:

  1. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD):
    The primary cause of angina is often coronary artery disease, a condition where the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle become narrowed or blocked by a buildup of plaque. This restricts blood flow, leading to chest pain or discomfort.
  2. Atherosclerosis:
    Atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fatty deposits (plaque) on artery walls, contributes to the development of angina. As plaque builds up, it can obstruct blood flow, triggering anginal symptoms.
  3. Spasms of Coronary Arteries:
    In some cases, angina may result from spasms in the coronary arteries, causing temporary narrowing and restricting blood flow to the heart. This variant, known as variant or Prinzmetal’s angina, can occur even in the absence of significant plaque buildup.
  4. Other Heart Conditions:
    Conditions such as heart valve disease, cardiomyopathy, and congenital heart defects can also lead to angina by affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively.

Symptoms of Angina:

  1. Chest Discomfort:
    The hallmark symptom of angina is chest pain or discomfort. This sensation is often described as pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It may also be experienced in the arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, or back.
  2. Shortness of Breath:
    Angina can cause a feeling of breathlessness, especially during physical activity or stress. This occurs as the heart struggles to meet the increased oxygen demand.
  3. Fatigue:
    Chronic fatigue may accompany angina, as the heart’s compromised blood supply affects its ability to function optimally.
  4. Nausea and Dizziness:
    Some individuals with angina may experience nausea, dizziness, or lightheadedness. These symptoms can be particularly prominent during episodes of anginal pain.
  5. Sweating:
    Profuse sweating, especially in conjunction with chest discomfort, can be a warning sign of angina. This is the body’s response to the stress placed on the heart.
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Understanding the causes and symptoms of angina is crucial for early detection and intervention. Anyone experiencing chest pain or related symptoms should seek medical attention promptly. Diagnosing the underlying cause of angina allows healthcare professionals to develop a tailored treatment plan, addressing both the symptoms and the root of the issue. Regular check-ups, a heart-healthy lifestyle, and prompt attention to any concerning symptoms contribute to maintaining optimal cardiovascular health.


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