Health Tips for Seniors

Disease of the heart – Angina Pectoris Pain

Angina Pectoris Pain. Angina Pectoris is a well-known heart chest pain. Like all heart pain, it is due to heart arteries that do not bring enough blood to the heart muscle while it is working. The pain is felt when the heart is working hard and demanding more blood, such as walking uphill, walking or running too fast, and during severe emotional upsets.

The heart artery in angina pectoris is narrow because of a

Fig. 72. Pain of Angina Pectoris. Pain is felt in the heart muscle because its blood supply is reduced by a heart artery which is clamped down or in “spasm.” “Spasm,” which narrows or closes the artery, is related to work (e.g., walking up hill), tobacco and emotional upset. Often a little alcohol helps to relax the condition. Tobacco is restricted in nearly all cases.

temporary spasm of the artery itself and this temporary feature distinguishes angina from the permanently narrowed artery of arteriosclerosis. Relaxing this constricted artery, and allowing it to dilate, allows more blood to be delivered to the heart muscle again and the pain of angina pectoris is relieved.

Ordinarily, patients with angina pectoris have a so-called emotional nature, with possibly intensified spasms of the artery. Because of this, they are usually advised against factors such as tobacco, which stimulates the body and blood vessels. Many doctors forbid their patients any tobacco with the first symptoms of angina pectoris, and following this, heart pain may be completely relieved.

Sometimes these patients are advised on the use of alcohol as a medicine. In the form of whiskey, alcohol is noted for its ability to relax the arteries of the heart and help dispel the pain of angina pectoris. Heart pain probably is most often caused not just by one, but rather a combination of diseases. Actually, some authorities believe angina pectoris pain rarely occurs without the presence of arteriosclerosis, and others believe that real heart attacks also rarely occur without the presence of some arteriosclerosis. Thus, the easy separation of heart diseases on paper is not quite so clearly defined within the chest wall. We may study the types of heart pains and learn to distinguish them from pains which are not coming from within the heart. It is felt moreover, that such a study will prompt the individual to visit his physician regularly even before any heart pain should make itself felt.

Heart diseases are most difficult to deal with. If this were not so, we should not have so great a number of physicians dying of heart diseases each year. It takes the best of medical brains, with the help of laboratory tests, to deal adequately with genuine heart disease. While things to do, and things not to do for the individual, may be very important in his routine way, total evaluation of the heart patient and his activities must finally be dictated by his physician.

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