Our bodies have a way of telling us when something isn't right. It's what we do with that message that can save our lives. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood because of plaque build up in the arteries. Angina isn't a disease. It's a symptom of an underlying heart problem.
North Central Heart Cardiologist Dr. Tarek Mahrous says, "Heart attack pain, is important to remember, it will persist. It does not go away. When you have resting pain that lasts at least 15 minutes it's a sign of a heart attack until proven otherwise and you need to see somebody about it."
If a patient came into the Avera Heart Hospital Emergency Room with unstable angina cardiologists would do an angiogram. With contrast die and an x-ray they can see where the blockage is and treat it appropriately.
Dr. Mahrous says, "Stable angina will still give you pain during exercise but then goes away. The problem is still blockage, it's just considered stable because the blocked artery isn't bad enough to cause a heart attack. Medication, a stent or bypass surgery is normally the course of treatment.
Dr. Mahrous says, "I often tell people, just because you get a stent or a bypass doesn't mean it's a cure. It's a treatment to relieve the angina. You have to pay attention for additional symptoms over time and treat the risk factors that caused it in the first place."
Dr. Mahrous says first and foremost you have to stop smoking. He says it's the biggest source for reoccurring angina after a heart attack. Also, get your diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol under control if you want to steer clear of coronary disease down the road.