First Valley Medical Group
Internal Medicine located in California City, CA & Lancaster, CA
Angina is an extremely common symptom of heart disease that affects more than 6 million Americans. It causes about 600,000 deaths every year. Women are more affected by angina than are men. Kanagaratnam Sivalingam, MD, and his team at First Valley Medical Group in Lancaster, California, can educate you to recognize and understand the signs of angina and treat you if you’ve already had an attack. To make an appointment, call the office or use the online scheduling tool today.
Angina Q & A
What is angina?
Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort caused by a lack of blood going into your heart. Angina is a sign that the arteries carrying blood to the heart have become narrow and blocked.
Angina can feel similar to a heart attack, but unlike an actual cardiac incident, the chest pain from angina goes away within a few minutes.
What are the symptoms of angina?
The symptoms of angina vary based on what type of angina you have, but some common symptoms include:
- Chest pressure or discomfort
- Arms, neck, or back pain
- Shortness of breath
Women should especially keep a sharp eye on their symptoms as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature death in American women.
Women can also have different symptoms that often lead to delays in recognizing their condition and getting treatment. Some angina symptoms that are common in women include:
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Neck, jaw, or back discomfort
During an attack, women can feel stabbing pain as opposed to chest pressure.
If you feel any of these symptoms, you need to be checked by Dr. Sivalingam at First Valley Medical Group immediately.
What are the causes of angina?
Angina happens because the flow of blood to your heart is reduced because your arteries are blocked or have become narrower than they should be. The following are some of the things that increase your risk of angina:
High blood pressure
When the force of the blood flowing through your arteries is too high over an extended period, it damages your blood vessels and increases your chances of an angina attack.
High levels of cholesterol in your blood are eventually deposited in your arteries, causing the blood vessels to narrow and reduce blood flow to your heart.
Diabetes accelerates the buildup of fatty deposits inside your arteries and also increases your cholesterol levels, both of which result in a higher risk of angina.
Obesity causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which greatly increase your risk of developing angina.
People with family members who’ve had coronary disease are more likely to develop angina.
How do you treat angina?
Dr. Sivalingam uses tests like electrocardiograms (EKG or ECG), stress tests, and blood tests to check for angina and if it’s related to a serious heart condition. Based on your test results, Dr. Sivalingam will suggest one or a combination of the following treatments:
Stopping smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, being physically active every day, and maintaining a healthy weight are some of the many lifestyle changes that your provider can suggest.
If you’ve suffered an angina attack, Dr. Sivalingam can prescribe medication to reduce your blood’s ability to form clots in order to prevent blockages in your arteries.
Depending on the severity of your condition, Dr. Sivalingam could suggest various types of cardiac surgery to remove blockages, repair damaged heart valves, or replace an entire diseased heart.
Treatments aim to reduce pain and the frequency of your attacks. They also lower your risk of a full-blown heart attack by treating the underlying cardiovascular issues you have.
Not all chest pain is angina, but if you’re experiencing discomfort in your chest, have it checked out by Dr. Sivalingam and his team at First Valley Medical Group. Call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make an appointment today.