Angina or Chest Pain: Treatment, Home Remedies and Prevention

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If you experience angina, or a tight, squeezing sensation or pressure in your chest, there are some options to prevent it or treat naturally. Let’s get to know them…

What is Angina? Angina, also scientifically known as angina pectoris, may be a warning sign of heart disease. It feels like pressure in the chest, jaw, or arm. This pain appears when not enough blood flows to the heart muscle.

Angina: Symptoms

When you have angina, your heart does not get enough oxygen. Symptoms are triggered when your heart must function on high oxygen demand. The symptoms include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort (described as a squeezing pressure, fullness, tightness or a weight in the chest), it is similar indigestion or heartburn.
  • Arm, neck, jaw, shoulder or back pain.
  • Shortness of breath and tiredness.
  • Nausea, dizziness and sweating.

Types of Angina

There are 3 types of angina:

  • Stable Angina: it is a pain or tightness triggered by a consistent high level of activity, such as taking stairs, or a stressful situation. A serious and distressing argument may make your heart work harder, causing heart disease. In this case, it is advisable to rest and relax. Nitroglycerin may be also helpful. This type of angina can be improved with proper food choices and exercise.
  • Unstable Angina: it may be a worsened stable angina, or it may occur with no obvious trigger. Pain is more intense and lasts longer. This constitutes an emergency and you should immediately seek medical help.
  • Variant Angina (or Vasospastic angina or Prinzmetal’s angina): this chest pain occurs when the coronary artery suddenly spasms or contracts, cutting off blood flow to the heart muscle, usually when resting. The spasm is temporary (usually a few minutes and it goes away), it resembles the pain caused by a heart attack or coronary heart disease. It typically occurs at night but it may occur at other moments of the day. Nitroglycerin may also be helpful.

Angina and Women

Some women with angina do not experience chest pain. They may suffer from a stabbing pain and some symptoms like the ones mentioned above. Some women report heartburn-like feeling, unusual tiredness, sudden dizziness, nausea or vomiting and cold sweat.

Angina: Treatment

What do you need to do to feel better and ease the pain? When you have angina, your body is telling you that you have coronary artery disease, or CAD. A waxy substance made up of cholesterol and plaque build up in the arteries, restricting flow, so your heart does not get enough oxygen to work properly. What you need to do to “fix” this is tackle the underlying problem, that is, increase the blood flow to the heart. This will ease the symptoms.

You should probably get an appointment with your doctor to get a full examination and lifestyle and medication advice.

To diagnose an angina, a professional may ask for: an Chest x-ray, a coronary angiography, an ECG (electrocardiogram), an exercise stress test, echocardiogram or a CT (computerized tomography).

If you want to lower angina pain immediately, there are a few tips:

  • Take nitroglycerin.
  • Stop what you are doing, relax and try to rest. You may try some relaxing or breathing activities.
  • If the pain does not subside, or becomes more severe, call your emergency line and ask for medical assistance at once.

Angina treatment: Adjust your Lifestyle!

To alleviate angina symptoms, you may want to pay attention to what triggers it in you. The causes may include anxiety or emotional stress, cold weather, eating a heavy meal, or physical exertion. After your doctor conducts a medical examination, your symptoms and risk factors will be discussed, such as:

  • Body weight,
  • Smoking,
  • Blood pressure,
  • Cholesterol Level,
  • Diabetes,
  • Lack of physical activity.

These risk factors can be tackled to minimize angina symptoms and improve your overall health:

  • Manage diabetes.
  • Avoid alcohol (only drink in moderation).
  • Find a heart disease-appropriate diet, avoid overeating at mealtime.
  • Exercise regularly and moderately (consult your doctor and a fitness professional on the best plan for you). You should exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Exercise should be a part of your lifestyle.
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Find a healthy way to cope with stressful situations, like trying breathing techniques.
  • Keep warm.
  • Avoid large meals.
  • Reduce intake of bad fats and sugar (these thicken the blood and increase the development of plaque along artery linings).
  • Rest as soon as you start experiencing symptoms.
  • Take regular breaks.

Angina: Home Remedies

If you experience heart pain, there are some natural options that may work for you. If you have been diagnosed with angina, your doctor may have prescribed medication. However, there are some home remedies to manage infrequent chest pain.

Apple cider vinegar

A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water before meals is a great remedy for acid reflux or when heart pain strikes. It eases heartburn.

  • Almonds. Eating a handful of almonds or drinking almond milk when heartburn strikes is a great option to alleviate pain.
  • Hot drinks. Chest pain may sometimes be caused by gas. A hot or warm drink may help rev up your digestive system. One amazing option is making yourself a hot hibiscus tea. Hibiscus helps lower blood pressure and reduces cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
  • Cold pack. Applying a cold pack several times a day may reduce chest muscle strain caused by weightlifting, a fall, or carrying your child. This inflammation of the chest wall, known as costochondritis, may provoke chest pain.

Angina: Take Care of Your Heart

There are some long-term habits we all need to acquire to take care of our hearts. Besides eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and exercising, you may find some awesome supplements that keep you healthy and strong:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. It is usually found in fish. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Pomegranate juice. There are a lot of benefits to drinking pomegranate juice everyday: it is antioxidant, it has vitamin C, it prevents cancer, it protects against Alzheimer, heart disease and arthritis, it is anti-inflammatory.
  • Capsaicin. It boosts metabolism, reduces hunger, lowers blood pressure, may help relieve pain, improves psoriasis. It is easy to add to your diet.
  • Garlic. Garlic reduces blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, which may lower the risk of heart disease.
  • CoQ10. People with heart problems tend to have lower levels of CoQ10, and increasing dietary intake of this compound can improve heart health.
  • Ginger. Ginger has medicinal properties that help in preventing blood clots in the blood vessels of the heart. It may reduce plaque formation in the arteries caused by high cholesterol. It can be consumed with food or in tea.
  • Curcumin. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects and thereby, it may reduce cardiovascular complications. Consume curcumin with fats such as coconut oil, which optimizes the absorption of this compound.

Now that you have received the best tips to take care of your heart, put them into practice to improve your health.

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