Angina

Angina pectoris is a condition where people experience pain in the chest most commonly in relation to exertion. It is a form of Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD) but not the same as a heart attack. In the latter there is total blockage of an artery of the heart whereas in angina there is narrowing of the artery without total blockage.

The pain comes about from the heart muscle not having enough oxygen. When you exert yourself, the heart needs more oxygen than at rest. If the “pipes” carrying blood to the heart are narrowed, then the extra blood cannot get through and you experience pain. Generally, this is felt in the centre of the chest but can be felt in the neck jaw or left arm. Rest typically relieves angina pain.

Whilst not all chest pain is angina it is vitally important that your doctor assess chest pain. Most people with angina will need tests done on the heart and will require medications including the type that you pop or spray under the tongue when the pain occurs.
Lifestyle measures for those with and wanting to avoid angina is to not smoke, to maintain a healthy body weight, reduce fats in the diet and perhaps follow a Mediterranean type diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in red meat and with a splash of olive oil and red wine (note just a splash).

Regular exercise is important as it improves the circulation and you will be surprised at how you progress over time. Start gently and take professional advice.

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