Angina pectoris is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease. It occurs when the heart muscle doesn't get as much anginablood as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart's arteries is narrowed or blocked, also called ischemia.
Angina often occurs when the heart muscle itself needs more blood than it is getting, for example, during times of physical activity or strong emotions.
There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease. Some include:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol
Other causes of angina include:
- Abnormal heart rhythms (usually ones that cause your heart to beat quickly)
- Coronary artery spasm (also called Prinzmetal's angina)
- Heart failure
- Heart valve disease
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
Angina is usually felt as:
- squeezing, or
- aching across the chest, particularly behind the breastbone.
Patients may also suffer:
- cramping, and
- shortness of breath.
People with angina pectoris or sometimes referred to as stable angina have episodes of chest discomfort that are usually predictable and manageable. You might experience it while running or if you’re dealing with stress.
Normally this type of chest discomfort is relieved with rest, nitroglycerin or both. Nitroglycerin relaxes the coronary arteries and other blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood that returns to the heart and easing the heart's workload. By relaxing the coronary arteries, it increases the heart's blood supply.
If you experience chest discomfort, be sure and visit your doctor for a complete evaluation and, possibly, tests. If you have stable angina and start getting chest pain more easily and more often, see your doctor immediately as you may be experiencing early signs of unstable angina.
Angina Pectoris - 4 Nursing Diagnosis
1. Acute Pain
2. Activity Intolerance
4. Knowledge Deficit