Angina (Chest Pain)

What is Angina?

When coronary heart disease causes the blood vessels in the heart to constrict, adequate amounts of blood cannot flow to the heart. This lack of blood triggers the distinctive chest pains we refer to as angina. Brought on by a variety of factors, including exercise, episodes of angina generally dissipate after a few minutes. If they do not dissipate, and the chest pains are accompanied by faintness, nausea, lightheadedness, palpitations, or shortness of breath, you should immediately call 911.

Is Angina the Same as a Heart Attack?

Both angina and heart attacks occur when oxygen levels in the heart drop due to a lack of proper blood flow. However, with angina, the reduced blood oxygen level only lasts for a short period of time and does not cause any permanent trauma to the heart. With a heart attack, the heart suffers from permanent damage because the lack of oxygen is prolonged.

How Does My Cardiologist Treat Angina?

The physicians at Heart & Vascular Associates of Acadiana believe in treating angina dynamically, so your treatment plan will likely include the following:

  • Medicine: In most cases, your cardiologist will prescribe medications to alleviate the symptoms of angina. Importantly, he or she will provide a comprehensive evaluation into the causes of angina in attempts to correct the underlying reason for your symptoms.  

  • Diet: Switching to a heart-healthy diet rich in fiber, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables and low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and salt not only helps to control your angina, it helps you feel healthier and more energetic.

  • Exercise: Your current activity level will determine what kind and how much exercise works best for you. Talk to your cardiologist about starting an exercise program and with a little determination, you can enjoy the many benefits of leading an active lifestyle.

  • Don’t Smoke: Smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict even further, exacerbating angina and a host of other cardiovascular disorders. Quitting smoking now could greatly improve your ability to control your angina.

Talk to Your Acadiana Cardiologists About Your Heart Health

To schedule an appointment with Heart & Vascular Associates of Acadiana, please contact our office at (377) 534-4356. Our four offices proudly serve patients in the Lafayette community as well as the entire Acadiana region.