Angina may be a sign that you have a problem with your heart. Your West Monroe and Winnsboro, LA, cardiologist, Dr. Virginia Gonzalez diagnoses angina and other heart ailments at Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center.
Agina is a type of pain or discomfort in the chest that occurs due to decreased blood flow to the heart. In addition to chest pain, symptoms of angina can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and sweating. You may also notice pain or pressure in your chest that extends to your arm, jaw, back or neck, or feel as if you have indigestion.
Your cardiologist will perform tests to determine if you have stable or unstable angina. Stable angina happens when you're exercising or your heart is working harder than it normally does. As soon as you rest or take medication, your symptoms will go away if you have this form of angina.
If you have unstable angina, your symptoms will continue even if you rest or take medication. Unstable angina requires immediate emergency medical treatment. Your chest pain and other symptoms could mean that you're having a heart attack.
Causes of angina
Angina can occur if you have a blockage or spasm in an artery or have coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when fatty deposits inside your arteries reduce blood flow.
You may be at increased risk of developing angina if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, are overweight or obese, or smoke. Other risk factors include an unhealthy diet, not getting enough exercise and stress. The conditions that cause angina may be inherited in some cases.
Treatments for angina
Your West Monroe and Winnsboro heart doctor will recommend treatments that will ease your symptoms and address the underlying causes of angina. Treatments may include:
- Medication: You've probably seen a movie or TV show where a character with angina reaches for a nitrate capsule. Nitrates widen blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the heart. Other medications may slow your heartbeat, decrease blood clotting or lower cholesterol.
- Angioplasty: An angioplasty may be recommended if you have a blockage in an artery. During the procedure, a small balloon is inflated to widen the artery. A metal stent may also be added to the artery to keep it open.
- Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy (EECP): During this therapy, blood pressure cuffs attached to your legs and pelvis increase blood flow to the heart.
- Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: A vein or artery will be taken from another part of your body and used to bypass the blocked or damaged part of the coronary artery.
Improving your diet, exercising more, losing weight and reducing stress may also help reduce your angina symptoms.
Do you think you may have angina? Call your cardiologist in West Monroe and Winnsboro, LA, Dr. Gonzalez, at (318) 338-3540 to schedule an appointment.