Common Characteristics of Angina Pectoris
Angina pectoris, commonly referred to as angina, is Migraine Care Review a temporary pain or tightness that starts in the chest and sometimes radiates to other parts of the body, particularly the arms, neck, jaw or back. It comes on suddenly–often in response to exertion, emotional stress or exposure to cold–and is usually of short duration. It is caused by a reduction in blood flow through the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that nourish the heart muscle. This reduced blood flow results in a reduction in oxygen reaching a portion of heart muscle, which, in turn, causes the pain.
Although episodes of chest pain may be very frightening, it should be emphasized that angina is only one of many possible causes. Indigestion, anxiety, muscle disorders, infection or structural abnormalities are just a few of the many causes of chest pain. This is why a number of tests may be required before it is determined that the chest pains are, indeed, angina. Even then, there are different types of angina, and distinguished the specific type involved may be a factor in prescribing the most effective treatment.
Classic Angina Pectoris
The most common form of angina is associated with coronary artery disease. As we grow older, our blood vessels tend to “harden” or lose some of their elasticity, a process known as arteriosclerosis. They also may become narrowed or clogged with deposits of fatty material. These are gradual processes that may go on for years, even decades, without causing any problems or symptoms. But if the narrowing progresses to the stage where 75 percent or more of the artery is blocked, the result may be angina or a feeling of breathlessness. Typically, classic angina is brought on by exertion or other activities that cause the heart to work harder; for example, the increased blood flow required to digest a large meal. Cold weather, emotional upsets or anxiety are other common factors that may provoke angina.