The Painful Costs Of Angina Pectoris

2011-08-11 | |
Last updated: 2011-08-11

What Is And What Causes Angina Pectoris?

Simply put, Angina Pectoris or Angina is the pain experienced when heart muscles are working with insufficient blood oxygen levels. The pain can occur regularly or can occur suddenly depending on what causes the low oxygen condition to occur. Reduced levels of oxygen-carrying blood reaching the heart can be due to blockage of blood flow or blood that contains insufficient oxygen.

Although multiple conditions can lead to low oxygen levels in the heart tissues, several are common. The first is due to reduced blood flow from Atherosclerosis or Coronary Artery Disease where fatty deposits accumulate on the walls of the arteries effectively clogging the pipes and slowing blood flow. All sizes of artery and blood vessel can be affected by such deposits to become blocked.

In addition to these slowly developing blockages, another more sudden cause of blockage and pain is because of blood clots interrupting the flow of blood into the heart muscle. Much like a stroke, these types of blockage can be extremely dangerous. They introduce the risk of heart muscle death from a complete lack of oxygen.

Aside from blockages of the arteries, disease of the arteries can also lead to Angina pain. This is because such diseases reduce the flexibility of the arteries meaning that they cannot expand to allow greater blood flow when it is required. Some diseases can also lead to constriction of the arteries that also limits blood flow.

With any of these underlying conditions, Angina can be then be triggered by other factors. Emotional stress, alcohol, temperature changes, and smoking can all affect the size of the arteries causing the heart muscle to get insufficient oxygen and cause Angina pain.

Who Suffers from Angina?

Within the population, roughly 3% of people suffer from Angina. In the UK, this amounted to 2 million people in 2001. In the US, 9.1 million people were affected as of 2008. Of these, 1 million suffer from severe and chronic Angina symptoms according to presentations by researchers from Northwestern University. In Canada, in 2008, roughly 2% of the population was affected by Angina. Between the genders, women experience Angina more often than men. According to research from University College London, women experience chronic Angina 20% more often than do men.

As mentioned above, those with diseases of the circulatory system are most likely to experience Angina because these conditions can reduce blood flow to the heart. However those who have already suffered a heart attack may also experience Angina pain. Research in 2008 from the University of Colorado Denver found that roughly 20% of people who have suffered a heart attack would suffer Angina a year following the incident. Of those who suffer Angina, 1 in 7 will face such pain at least once a week.

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Category: Disease Information, General Health, Health Risks, Symptom Information

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