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Heart disease health centre

Living with angina

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you get angina, relieving your chest discomfort or pain is only part of the treatment picture. The other part is treating your heart disease to stop your angina getting worse and to lower your risk of having a heart attack.

If you get angina you probably have coronary artery disease. With this disease, the arteries that carry blood to your heart (your coronary arteries) are narrowed by clumps of fatty tissue. A bad blockage can lead to worse angina and even a heart attack. But treatments can lower your chances of these things happening.

Here are some steps your doctor may suggest.

  • Your doctor will probably tell you to take an aspirin every day. If you take this drug, your blood is less likely to clot in your narrowed arteries. That helps stop you having a heart attack. For more, see Aspirin.

  • Your doctor will also suggest that you take drugs called statins. These drugs help lower your levels of cholesterol and help stop you having a heart attack.

  • If your angina is bad, you may need surgery to get more blood going to your heart. Your doctor may suggest coronary angioplasty or a coronary artery bypass.

  • Your doctor will also suggest changing the way you live. These changes may include taking regular light exercise, improving your diet, learning ways to better manage stress, and losing weight if you need to.For more, see What you can do to help yourself.

Glossary

cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made by your liver or absorbed from food. It is used by your body to make bile acids (which help your intestines absorb nutrients) and steroid hormones (like testosterone or oestrogen). Cholesterol is also an important part of cell membranes, which are the structures that surround cells. 'Good cholesterol' is called HDL; 'bad cholesterol' is LDL.

coronary arteries

Coronary arteries are the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle. If yours are blocked, you may have a pain in your chest (known as angina) or a heart attack because parts of the heart are not getting enough blood and oxygen.

For more terms related to Angina, stable

Citations

For references related to Angina, stable click here.
Last Updated: March 13, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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