Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of mortality in the United States, accounting for about one out of every five deaths. Every 40 seconds, somebody in the US has a heart attack.
Although one in five heart attacks are “silent,” having no symptoms, most heart attacks are preceded by noticeable signs. One of the most common symptoms of a heart attack is angina.
At Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, our experienced cardiologists conduct tests to determine the source of your chest pain. If we diagnose you with angina, we help you make lifestyle changes that help keep your heart safe. We may also prescribe medications.
Is angina a precursor to a heart attack? In many cases, it is. Here’s what to know if you have angina.
When you have an angina attack, not enough blood is flowing to your heart. Without blood — and the oxygen it carries — your heart can’t function optimally. It may start to beat very rapidly in an attempt to receive more blood, creating pain and pressure in your chest.
Your angina is caused by coronary artery disease. Your arteries may have become narrowed due to accumulations of plaque.
Even though both angina and heart attacks arise from the same conditions — coronary artery disease and reduced blood flow to the heart — angina doesn’t damage your heart because the reduced blood flow is limited. A heart attack, however, does permanently damage your heart.
If you’ve had angina attacks before, you might be tempted to dismiss them. However, an angina attack that’s prolonged and doesn’t improve with either rest or nitroglycerin could be a heart attack.
Be sure to take the medication your doctor has prescribed to control your angina. We also help you make lifestyle changes that improve your cardiovascular health and thereby reduce your risk for angina and heart attack.
If you have chest pain, be sure to consult your doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms of angina include:
Women may have slightly different symptoms, including:
If any of these symptoms last for more than a few minutes, have someone take you to the emergency room. The symptoms of angina and the symptoms of a heart attack are virtually identical.
Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help you reduce angina attacks or even reverse the condition altogether. We advise you to:
Also be sure to take any medications that your cardiologist prescribed you. Keep a symptom log so you can identify triggers to your angina episodes.
If your angina persists for more than a few minutes, doesn’t improve with rest, or gets worse, get to the emergency room. If you’re concerned about your condition or have side effects from your medications, contact your cardiologist; never stop taking your angina drugs without your doctor’s OK.
Do you have angina? Experience patient-centered care and learn how to keep your heart healthy by contacting Advanced Medical Care at the office near you by phone or online today.