Telehealth Visits are now available. Please call (501) 270-6618.

Is Angina a Precursor to a Heart Attack?

Angina, heart disease, Dr. De Bruyn , Heart Rhythm Associates

You can have chest pain for a variety of reasons, including indigestion and muscle strains. But heart-related forms of chest pain, called angina, can indicate dangerous problems like heart disease, a condition that can cause heart attack and death.

If you’re suffering from angina, Dr. De Bruyn and our team at Heart Rhythm Associates can help you understand and manage your symptoms to reduce your risk of having a future heart attack.

Understanding angina

Angina, or angina pectoris, is a symptom, not a disease. When you experience angina, it’s common to have pain, tightness, stabbing, or discomfort in your chest. In some cases, angina symptoms can also seem as though something is squeezing your chest or there’s a heavy weight on it.

Additional angina symptoms might include:

These symptoms occur when an area of your heart muscle doesn’t receive as much blood as usual. In most cases, this is due to heart disease. When you have heart disease, the arteries in your heart have a buildup of cholesterol, or fatty plaques, that reduce oxygen-rich blood flow to your heart muscle.

Not all angina is the same

While the cause of angina is usually the same, there are different types, and some forms of angina can indicate a potential heart attack.

The most common form of angina is known as stable angina. These chest symptoms typically develop when your heart has to work harder than normal, like during exercise or when you’re climbing stairs. It’s also fairly predictable and lasts a short period of time, often five minutes or less. Stable angina also disappears as soon as you rest or take angina medication.

When you have unstable angina, it can indicate a heart attack. This medical emergency occurs when part of your heart muscle loses its blood supply and sustains damage or dies. Unstable angina is usually unexpected, differs from the chest pain you typically experience, and continues even if you rest. In most cases, unstable angina is more intense and typically lasts a long time, even 30 minutes or longer.

Unlike stable angina, unstable angina can be the precursor to a heart attack.

Managing angina

Dr. De Bruyn can work closely with you to control your angina and help you understand the difference between stable and unstable symptoms. In addition to prescribing angina medications, he might also recommend surgical treatments, such as bypass surgery or angioplasty and stenting.

Whether your angina symptoms are mild or severe, Dr. De Bruyn also recommends lifestyle changes to improve your overall heart health. These strategies often include:

For more information on angina and recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack, contact our office in Little Rock, Arkansas.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What You Need to Know About an ECG or EKG

When determining the health of your heart, an ECG or EKG is often the first diagnostic tool we turn to. Here’s a look at what this simple and painless test can reveal about your cardiovascular health and what you can expect during the test.

Is Your Lifestyle Causing Arrhythmia?

There are many different types of arrhythmias, but what they all share in common is that the heart isn’t beating properly. And just as there are many types of arrhythmias, there are also many causes and risk factors, including your lifestyle.

5 Ways to Eat a Heart-Healthier Diet

Your heart health is greatly influenced by a number of factors, with your diet leading the charge. Here are a few ways that you can eat your way to a healthier heart, whether as a preventive technique or after a diagnosis.

Most Common Causes for Heart Palpitations

Do you occasionally feel as if your heart is racing or fluttering? Maybe even skipping a beat? Here’s what you should know about this fairly common occurrence, called heart palpitations, and what precipitates them.

How to Keep Active With a Heart Rhythm Disorder

If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder, such as atrial fibrillation, you may be understandably hesitant about pushing your heart too hard. In point of fact, your heart health may have everything to gain from the right exercise regimen.