Angina

Angina is a recurring pain or discomfort that typically occurs near the center of the chest. This occurs when the blood supply is not enough to sustain a part of the heart’s muscle. This most often occurs during exercise or through a period of emotional stress.

Typical symptoms are generally experienced behind the breastbone. These symptoms include:

•    Heaviness
•    Tightness
•    oppressive pain
•    burning
•    pressure
•    squeezing

Additional symptoms include:

•    sweating
•    nausea
•    shortness of breath

Angina can also be felt in the arm or even the jaw.

The pain or discomfort of angina is generally brief. Although they have the same root cause, angina is not the same thing as a heart attack. The main cause of angina is atherosclerosis—the narrowing of the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle. This is generally due to deposits of fatty substances such as cholesterol.

If you experience angina, the most common treatment is nitroglycerin. This is taken by tiny tablets that are put under the tongue to dissolve. Although it may take several tablets per day to control the symptoms, rest assured that nitroglycerin is safe and is not habit-forming. 

There are other, non-medical options to help improve your condition. For example:

•    Include more physical activity into your lifestyle
•    Avoid emotional upsets, if possible
•    Incorporate healthy eating habits
•    Keep alcohol intake to a moderate level
•    Avoid tobacco products
•    Control high blood pressure and cholesterol

Talk to your doctor for other ways to control your angina and the best treatment options for you.