Many people will experience some tightness in their chest throughout their lifetime. Often this tightness will go away without you doing anything or making any changes. The tightness in your chest could be angina, an early warning sign that you have blocked arteries and your heart is having a difficult time working properly. Understanding angina and seeing it as a warning sign can prevent you from having a full blown heart attack. Early detection of heart disease is the best way to make changes and avoid a life altering result of a heart attack.
What is Angina?
When your arteries are not able to let all the blood flow through them at one time you can feel pressure or pain in your chest. This pain is often called angina. Angina is caused by your heart trying to pump the blood at its normal rate, but your veins are not able to let all that blood through in a timely manner. Many people will feel some early angina when their veins are only slightly blocked. The angina will increase in intensity as the arteries around the heart become more blocked.
Take it as a Warning
Instead of forgetting about the brief moment of chest pain that you had, it is important to seek out your doctor so they can perform additional tests. Checking your cholesterol and making lifestyle changes can prevent a heart attack if you start early. Do not ignore angina, as it is your body giving you an early warning sign that you need to make some changes. Sometimes angina is the only warning sign you will get before a potentially deadly heart attack. Use natures warning sign and see your doctor as soon as possible.
Go see your Doctor
When you go see your doctor, they will likely start with some simple blood tests. Depending on your level of angina the doctor may decide to do other testing. An EKG can check to see if you have already had a mild heart attack, many people believe they are only having angina, when they actually are suffering small heart attacks. Your doctor may also decide to look inside your veins with a catheter procedure. In this procedure the doctor uses a small camera and goes up into your artery through a starting point in your groin. The doctor can see if your veins are clogged and can put a stint in to keep them open if necessary.
After seeing your doctor he or she may ask you to make some lifestyle changes to help you fight off heart disease. These changes might include a low cholesterol diet and some moderate exercise or weight loss. Keeping your heart healthy should not wait until you notice you are having angina, instead you could work to have a healthier heart today. Lower your risk for angina and a heart attack by eating a healthy low cholesterol diet and walking several times per week to increase your heart rate.
By listening to the early warning signs of angina you can help prevent a life threatening heart attack. Take the time to talk to your doctor when you first feel chest pain, you may be able to make lifestyle changes right away. Lowering your risk for a heart attack will take time and you will need to make a consistent effort to eat healthy and exercise. Take the warning sign of angina and use it to make yourself healthier. Do not let another day go by without talking to your doctor about your angina; it is more than just a little chest pain. Angina is an urgent warning to you to get help right away.