Angina is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. People with angina may feel tightness in their chest, shoulders, jaw, and back. The condition can also be a precursor of coronary artery disease. If you've just been diagnosed with angina, you may be wondering how to manage the condition. Your doctor can work with you on a treatment plan depending on the severity of your condition. Here are just a few treatment options that you can consider.
Whether you have mild or severe angina, lifestyle changes are a big part of managing this condition. Reducing or abstaining from habits like smoking or alcohol consumption can help you reduce symptoms of angina. Your doctor can help you work on a safe exercise plan since angina can be exacerbated by overexertion. Unmanaged stress can take a toll on people with angina, as one study found that mental stress—not physical stress—was associated with a higher frequency of angina. Seeing a therapist can help you manage stress. One thing you may need to do is cut out toxic relationships in your life if they are causing you too much stress.
There are many different medications that can treat angina. Your doctor can help you figure out which type would work best for your current health needs. For example, your doctor might recommend nitrates, which can relax and widen blood vessels, thus reducing chest discomfort. Clot-preventing drugs and blood-thinning drugs, like aspirin, can also be helpful for some people. Other people may respond better to calcium-channel blockers, which can relax muscle cells.
If conservative methods like medications and lifestyle changes aren't working, then your doctor might recommend surgery. One surgery that can help angina is an angioplasty. During an angioplasty procedure, a surgeon will use a balloon to widen an artery. Then they will place a stent, or a mesh coil, to keep the artery open to improve blood flow.
If conservative treatments or surgery still don't help, then your doctor might recommend clinical trials for treatments. Clinical trials can involve cell- and gene-based therapies, cutting-edge pharmacological agents that you may not have tried, and alternative therapies, like herbal medications or acupuncture. In fact, one study found that people with chronic stable angina were able to improve their symptoms with acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy. Clinical trials can also be a great way to save money on treatment since you may be compensated for volunteering.
Reach out to a health and medical professional in your area for more information about angina treatment options.
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