Angina pectoris is not a disease, but rather a symptom of inadequate oxygen supply to the heart, which can result from a variety of conditions. Angina is defined as pain or pressure in the chest, beneath the breastbone, that occurs when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. Ranging in severity from mild to severe, the pain typically occurs with physical or emotional stress or extreme temperatures, and persists only a few minutes. It is often relieved by rest. Some types of angina occur at rest, however, such as Prinzmetal's or variant angina.
Angina results when blood flow to the heart muscle is inadequate (causing a condition known as ischemia) due to a number of conditions.
This ischemia causes damage to the tissue of the heart. If the artery becomes completely blocked, the damage can become severe enough that death of the heart tissue occurs. This tissue death is what is called a "heart attack" or myocardial infarction (MI). Angina is the "warning" that a person is at risk for a heart attack.
About 25% of all Americans have cardiovascular disease, and about 6,200,000 have angina. Coronary artery disease is the leading killer in American of both men and women, responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths every year. Fortunately, due to advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, the statistics have improved greatly in recent decades.
The Medifocus Guide on Angina provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of angina?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing angina?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of angina?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of angina?
What treatment options are available for the management of angina?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in angina?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for angina?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about angina?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Sexual intercourse and stable angina pectoris. American Journal of Cardiology. 2000
Spinal cord stimulation for ischemic heart disease. Neurological Research. 2000
Lasers in the treatment of ischaemic heart disease. Annals of Medicine. 2000
Beyond heparin and aspirin: new treatments for unstable angina and non-Q-wave myocardial infarction. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2000
Myocardial laser revascularization: the controversy and the data. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 2000
31st Bethesda Conference. Emergency Cardiac Care. Task force 2: Acute coronary syndromes: Section 2B--Chest discomfort evaluation in the hospital. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2000
Contemporary management of angina: part II. Medical management of chronic stable angina. American Family Physician. 2000
Unstable angina: current concepts of pathogenesis and treatment. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2000
Unstable angina pectoris. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000
Management of unstable angina based on considerations of aetiology. Heart. 1999
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