Angina & Coronary Artery Disease
The medical term “angina pectoris” actually means “squeezing of the chest” in Latin. Pressure, tightness and aching in the chest are characteristic of angina, among other sicknesses, which is why a thorough diagnosis is important. The American Heart Association estimates that 16,000,000 Americans suffer from angina, heart attack and other forms of coronary heart disease.
- There are two different types of angina: stable and unstable. Stable angina occurs at predictable times, such as during physical exertion. Unstable angina is less predictable, sometimes occurring at rest, with more severe discomfort. Unstable angina warrants an immediate trip to the hospital.
Coronary artery disease is defined by a buildup of fat deposits in the arteries (a process known as atherosclerosis) that impairs blood flow. A heart attack can result if blood flow becomes completely restricted, but any blood supply reduction can cause chest pain.
- One can reduce the chance of developing coronary artery disease by making lifestyle changes to avoid risk factors such as unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.