Angina Symptoms (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is angina?
- What causes angina?
- What are the different types of angina?
- What are the signs and symptoms of angina?
- How is angina diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for angina?
- Angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery
- What are other methods are used to evaluate angina?
- What is the prognosis for angina?
- Can angina be prevented?
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
What is the prognosis for angina?
Prevention offers the best prognosis, but that said, should angina be due to atherosclerotic heart disease, heart function and symptoms may be controlled with lifelong attention to diet, exercise, and appropriately taking medication that is prescribed.
The purpose in preventing progression of ASHD is to decrease the risk of heart attack. Should one of the coronary arteries become completely blocked, that section of heart muscle may die and be replaced with scar tissue. This leads to a weakened heart that will affect quality of life. Chronically decreased blood flow to heart muscle may not cause a single heart attack but may affect heart function and lead to ischemic cardiomyopathy and again affect lifestyle.
Patients with angina who have had a heart attack and continue to smoke have up to a 50% risk of another heart attack and death.
Patient with Prinzmetal angina and syndrome X have an excellent prognosis with little risk of long term heart damage.
Can angina be prevented?
The risk for atherosclerotic heart disease can be minimized by preventive medicine. Exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking will decrease the likely of developing atherosclerotic heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
A patient should never smoke but heart attack risk begins to decrease shortly after they stop.
Lifelong screening and controlling high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and diabetes will minimize the risk of developing heart disease but that risk does not become zero.
Understanding that not all angina is chest pain may help a patient present to a health care professional so that an early diagnosis may be made. Listening to your body is key to living a long, healthy, and productive life.
Longo, Dan, et al. Harrisons's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2011.
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