What are the types of Angina?
At rest, the blood flow is sufficient for the metabolism of the heart. During exercise, the blood and oxygen requirement increases. When there are blockages in the blood vessels, the blocked blood vessels are not able to deliver the increased blood and oxygen required for the metabolism of the heart. This manifests as symptoms of angina. Stable angina, as the name suggests may manifest as slow ongoing symptoms for weeks to months. Heavy meals, emotional stress, high blood pressure or fall in temperature can aggravate angina.
Coronary angiography is the diagnostic test for detecting blockages in the blood vessels of the heart. Depending on the type of blockages, your heart doctor will advise you medicines, angioplasty or bypass surgery.
If a person has recent worsening of angina on regular physical activity, he could be having unstable angina. It could be severe, last longer, and may not respond to rest or medications like GTN spray. Unstable Angina is a medical emergency as it often precedes a heart attack.
Patients having recent worsening of angina symptoms should see a heart doctor immediately. Your Cardiologist will do an ECG, 2D echocardiography and a coronary angiography. Early coronary angiography is important as it may detect a block before a major heart attack. Early is the Key.
Variant Angina (Prinzmetal Angina)
It is a type of angina which is caused by vascular contractions or spasms of coronary arteries. Addiction to alcohol, smoking, tobacco, cocaine or other drugs can trigger Variant Angina. Variant angina can occur even at rest at any time of day or night.
Your heart doctor can detect Variant angina from your symptoms and ECG changes. Your Cardiologist will advise you for a coronary angiography. If the coronary angiography is normal, these patients can be treated with medicines alone and aggressive lifestyle management.