Frequently Asked Questions

Angina, Ambulatory Care

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is pain, pressure, or tightness that is usually felt in your chest. It is caused by decreased blood flow and oxygen to your heart. If left untreated, angina may get worse, increase your risk of a heart attack, or become life-threatening.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Pressure, tightness, or pain in your neck, jaw, shoulder, or back

  • Pain or numbness in either arm

  • Discomfort that feels like heartburn

  • Shortness of breath, sweating, or feelings of fear or anxiety before or during an angina attack

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than 5 minutes or returns

  • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm

  • Trouble breathing

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat, especially with chest pain or trouble breathing

  • Chest pain that does not go away after you take medicine as directed

  • Loss of feeling in your face, arms, or legs, or a sudden feeling of weakness

  • Angina that is happening more frequently, lasting longer, or causing worse pain

  • Blood in your urine or bowel movements, or you vomit blood

Treatment for angina

may include any of the following:

  • Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.

  • Nitrates , such as nitroglycerin, open the arteries to your heart so the heart gets more oxygen.

  • Beta-blockers cause your heart to beat more slowly and decrease blood pressure. This decreases the amount of oxygen the heart needs. Beta-blockers also help open the blood vessels in the heart.

  • Calcium channel blockers help relax the muscles in the arteries of the heart, increasing blood flow to the heart.

  • Statins are used to lower cholesterol levels. This prevents further narrowing of the blood vessels in your heart.

  • Angioplasty and stenting may be done to help open the coronary arteries and allow blood to flow to the heart. Ask for more information about these procedures.

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) , or open heart surgery, can improve blood flow to the heart. This will help decrease your chest pain and prevent a heart attack.

Manage angina:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. When you weigh more than is healthy for you, your heart must work harder. You are at higher risk for serious health problems. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. Do not eat food that is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. You may also be told to limit the amount of salt you eat.

  • Avoid activities that trigger an angina attack. Pay attention to your symptoms and find out what seems to make your angina worse.

  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can further damage your heart, as well as your lungs. Ask your PHP for information if you need help quitting.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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