Angina is a common condition in the US that presents with chest pain caused by reduced blood flow. It typically suggests that you have or are developing coronary artery disease. While this condition can be scary, especially during an attack, it's important to know there are treatment and preventative measures you can take to better protect yourself. To learn more, keep reading.

Preventative Measures

Angina and coronary artery disease are often caused by poor lifestyle choices and habits. Therefore, you can help reduce your risk of angina by making a few healthy changes. First, if you smoke, stop smoking as it can be detrimental to your entire circulatory system by damaging arterial walls.

In addition, monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to ensure they stay low. High blood pressure causes part of the heart to thicken because it is forced to work harder to transport the blood. On the other hand, high cholesterol causes fatty deposits to develop in the arteries, which can also make the heart work harder and/or lead to a blockage.  

One way to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure down is to get active, lose weight, and eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins instead of high-sugar foods. In addition, if you have any underlying condition that could harm your circulatory system, get treatment or get it under control.

Professional Treatment

If lifestyle changes aren't enough, you may need to visit your doctor. At first, they may prescribe medications to help with your angina. Many of the medications are designed to thin your blood. Thinner blood passes better through the heart and arteries, but it does increase your risk of bleeding that won't clot.

Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe nitrates, which widen vessels. However, if your heart tends to work harder than normal, beta blockers may be the better choice. They block epinephrine in the body, which puts less strain on the heart, allowing it to beat slower. In turn, this also allows the arteries and vessels to relax to promote improved blood flow. Other medications include those that treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  

If medicine doesn't work, there are medical procedures and surgery that may help. During an angioplasty procedure, a mesh stent is inserted to help widen the artery and keep it wide. If an artery has been fully blocked, however, coronary artery bypass surgery may be necessary to redirect the blood flow so it uses a healthy, non-blocked artery.

Many people suffer from chest pain and coronary heart disease. For some patients, a few lifestyle changes improve symptoms, but you may need surgery to finally find relief. If you would like to know more, contact an angina treatment center in your area today.