You may have had moments of chest pain when walking up stairs or mowing the yard. The pain went away when you stopped doing the activity and relaxed for a moment. Since the pain was gone, you likely didn't give it another thought. But your body was telling you about something that could become a much bigger problem. This kind of chest pain is called angina and is a warning sign see a family doctor, such as at Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., for an examination. Here is what is going on to cause the chest pain and why it's so important to follow up with your doctor even after the pain is gone.
Angina is a Gentle "Nudge" from Your Heart
Your heart is a muscle and needs a steady supply of blood to function. Three special blood vessels, called coronary arteries, provide the heart tissue with blood. Of most importance to your heart is the oxygen in the blood.
When the oxygen supply is insufficient for its needs, the heart complains. A blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries is the typical reason for a lack of oxygen to the heart. When the heart needs to exert itself, such as when you walk up stairs or do yard work, it needs more oxygen.
When the coronary arteries are partially blocked, the blood flow is reduced to the heart. As the heart struggles to get enough oxygen, you begin to feel the dull chest pain associated with angina. When you rest, your heart rate goes down and it needs less oxygen. The pain goes away. If you ignore the pain and the arteries become even more blocked, the next chest pain you may feel could be a serious heart attack.
Why the Coronary Arteries Become Blocked
There are several reasons that those critical articles become blocked:
Treating Blocked Blood Vessels
When you see your doctor after having angina, they will do tests to determine the precise cause. Your doctor will likely refer you to a cardiologist for a complete heart study. Once they know the cause, your doctors will recommend one or more of the following treatments:
It's important to get checked up when you experience any level of chest pain. Early treatment of heart disease will keep you from having a painful, and perhaps fatal, heart attack.
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