Angina Symptoms and Natural Remedies

Angina (angina pectoris) is characterized by an intense pain in the chest brought on by a variety of abnormal heart functions or by a decreased amount of blood flowing to the heart. Most often, atherosclerosis, a hardening of the coronary arteries, is to blame. Angina may also be caused by irregular spasms of the coronary arteries.

Angina presents itself in three different forms stable angina, variant angina and unstable angina. Stable angina is triggered by exercise, occurs frequently, and is usually anticipated; atherosclerosis is most often the cause. Variant angina can occur during periods of exercise or at times of rest and is predominantly a result of an impulsive spasm of the coronary artery; atherosclerosis may also play a part. Unstable angina is the most serious form of angina. It is completely unpredictable and can lead to a sudden heart attack. Individuals who experience severe chest pain or a worsening of what used to be mild angina should immediately request health care assistance.

Symptoms of Angina

Warning signs of angina commonly include a burning sensation (similar to indigestion), heaviness, aching, and/or constricting pressure in the chest that lasts anywhere from 5-30 minuets. The pain brought on by these symptoms can be felt in the back, neck, upper abdomen, jaw, or arms, but is more prominent in the area behind the breastbone. For some, trouble breathing, and a sweaty or pale completion may also indicate an attack. Symptoms are often more prevalent after a heavy meal, during periods of heightened emotion (excitement, fear, anger, shock, frustration), or while exercising.

Supporting Literature

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Cacciatore L, Cerio R, et al. The therapeutic effect of L-carnitine in patients with exercise-induced stable angina: A controlled study. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1991;17:225-235.
Kamikawa T, Kobayashi A, Yamashita T, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on exercise tolerance in chronic stable angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol 1985;56:247.
Miwa K, Miyagi Y, Igawa A, et al. Vitamin E deficiency in variant angina. Circulation 1996;94:14-18.
Rapola RM, Virtamo J, Haukka JK, et al. Effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of angina pectoris. A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. JAMA 1996;275:693-698.
Riemersma RA, Wood DA, Macintyre CC, et al. Risk of angina pectoris and plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and carotene. Lancet 1991;337:1-5.
Rinzler SH, Bakst H, Benjamin ZH, et al. Failure of alpha-tocopherol to influence chest pain in patients with heart disease. Circulation 1950;1:288-290.