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Chest Pain (Angina)

When your heart does not receive enough oxygen rich blood, you experience severe pain in your chest, it is angina, which is often mistaken as a heart attack. This pain is mainly the result of build-up of fatty substance called plaque, which is blocking the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Initially, the angina pain is often experienced below the breast-bone and radiates to the shoulder, arm or jaw. You may even come across few common symptoms like shortness of breath, temporary nausea, light-headedness, irregular heartbeat and anxiety.

Anyone who suffers from angina is prescribed glyceryl trinitrate. It can either be in the form of tablets or in the form of spray to be used under the tongue. Glyceryl trinitrate helps people to deal with the chest pain and tightness during the initial phase of heart troubles. It increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.

Home remedies

Apart from medication, there are several other ways that can help your to cope with angina attacks, reduce their frequency or even prevent them from happening at all. Given below are a few home remedies or initial measures to keep in mind if you have experienced angina attacks.

  • First and foremost, try to maintain a healthy body weight. If possible, eat good quantity of fruits and vegetables every day. Also, include plenty of wholegrain cereals. Cut down on fatty foods, fried foods, junk food, biscuits and milk chocolates. If you are a non-vegetarian, include fish and lean meat in your diet twice a week. Opt often for olive oil in cooking as well as salad dressing as it is good for your health, both
  • If you feel severe pain in the heart, or an attack occurs while standing walking, or exercising, sit down, relax and take rest for few minutes.
  • If you feel a mild attack in lying down position, change your position by sitting or standing up for sometime. That would take the pressure off the nerve in your heart that is signalling the pain. Angina, if it occurs when you are resting, shows that you are at much higher risk of a heart attack. See your doctor without any delay.
  • Don’t get emotionally excited or anxious. Physical and mental stress can increase your heart’s demand for oxygen. Stay calm and practice yoga, tai chi, meditation or some other stress relieving technique for better circulation of blood and oxygen.
  • Foods and supplements are a good way to supply necessary nutrients, that can eventually help to reduce the effects of angina.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids protect the heart and blood vessels. It is usually found in fish oil capsules and oily fish such as trout, salmon or sardines. A regular dose of this, twice a week is advisable. Check with your doctor before taking fish oil supplements to make sure they would not interact with any other medications you may be taking for angina.
  • According to several studies and researches, a clove of garlic a day can lower high cholesterol, and it also reduces the tendency of blood to clot – another advantage for heart patients. For optimum benefits, gulp a raw clove of garlic in the morning. You can even crush it and use it as a salad dressing. In case you cannot stand the smell of garlic, there are garlic capsules available in the market. Thus, garlic is beneficial for all those who suffer from angina or other heart troubles.
  • Folic acid and vitamin B12 are vitamins that lower raised levels of homocysteine, a substance in the blood that may increase the risk of heart diseases. To get vitamin B12, eat plenty of meat, fish or eggs and for folic acid, consume lots of leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
  • An exercise regime, under your doctor’s guidance can help to ward off angina pain.
  • If you are a smoker, quit smoking. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which constricts the arteries, triggering angina. Also, try to stay away from passive smoking or polluted environment.
  • If you want to reduce the risk of heart diseases or angina, cut down on caffeine. Give up coffee. In several studies, coffee intake has been linked to raised homocysteine levels, which can increase the risk of angina attacks.
  • When you consume a heavy meal, the body diverts extra blood flow to the digestive system and digestive tract to make the process of digestion easier. Because of this, the heart receives less oxygen and so more vulnerable to an attack. Thus, don’t engage yourself in rigorous activities after meal, instead prefer to relax, rest or do a quiet activity.
  • Don’t stay outdoors in cold weather. Cold air stimulates muscular reflexes that can cause angina.
  • Avoid heart troubles by avoid sudden physical exertion like running to catch a bus or train or lifting heavy objects.

Angina is often mistaken as a heart attack, especially for people who experience it for the first time. The different between angina and an attack is that former does not completely block the flow of blood to the heart, while the latter does. Angina comes as a warning, which should not be ignored. If you have chest pain that lasts for more than 15 minutes or is accompanied by shortness of breath and nausea, see your doctor immediately. During emergencies, take 300mg of aspirin to relieve the pain.

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