Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsI'd like to tell you about angina. Angina is a pain, and it can be a pain in the neck, the jaw, the arm, the back, the shoulders. And it's caused when the heart muscle is short of blood. So there's atherosclerotic lesion in a coronary artery, or maybe more than one, and it's restricting the amount of blood that goes to the heart muscle, and that's seen as pain by the body. Now there's two types of angina. There's stable angina and unstable angina. Stable angina comes on when you exercise, and if you rest, it stops. So you know when it's going to come and when it's going to go away. Unstable angina's different.
Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsIt can come on at any time, day or night. And if you rest, it may not go away. And that's a more dangerous form. It tells you you've got quite a large atherosclerotic lesion in a coronary artery. What's the treatment for angina? Well, drugs can be used, for instance, glyceryl trinitrate. If you take this, it will dilate blood vessels around the body and then the pain goes away. There are surgical treatments as well. There's one called angioplasty, in which a balloon is fed up from the groin into the coronary artery. And then this balloon is inflated, and it squashes the atherosclerotic lesion back into the artery, so making the inside of the artery bigger so the blood can get through.
Skip to 1 minute and 58 secondsThat can give pretty quick results taking away the angina. Another treatment is coronary artery bypass surgery, in which a normal blood vessel bypasses the coronary artery so the blood can get past the atherosclerotic lesion in this bypass.
Angina is usually caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart. It is most common in those over 65 years of age and affects nearly 2% of men and just over 1% of women in the United Kingdom.
In this video Dr David Leake discusses what angina is, the difference between ‘stable’ and ‘unstable’ angina, as well as how it is diagnosed and treated.
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British Heart Foundation resources
You can find out more about this topic in the following booklets produced by the British Heart Foundation: