Angina

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What is the prognosis for angina?

Prevention offers the best prognosis, but that said, should angina be due to atherosclerotic heart disease, heart function and symptoms may be controlled with lifelong attention to diet, exercise, and appropriately taking medications that may be prescribed.

The purpose in preventing progression of ASHD is to decrease the risk of heart attack. Should one of the coronary arteries become completely blocked, that section of heart muscle may die and be replaced with scar tissue. This leads to a weakened heart that will affect quality of life. Chronically decreased blood flow to heart muscle may not cause a single heart attack but may affect heart function and lead to ischemic cardiomyopathy and again affect lifestyle.

Patients with angina who have had a heart attack and continue to smoke have up to a 50% risk of another heart attack and death.

Patient with Prinzmetal angina and syndrome X have an excellent prognosis with little risk of long term heart damage.

Can angina be prevented?

The risk for atherosclerotic heart disease can be minimized by preventive medicine. Exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking will decrease the likely of developing atherosclerotic heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

A patient should never smoke but heart attack risk begins to decrease shortly after he or she quits smoking.

Lifelong screening and controlling high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and diabetes will minimize the risk of developing heart disease but that risk does not become zero.

Understanding that angina and heart disease may not present with symptoms of chest pain may help a patient seek care from a health care professional. This may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

REFERENCE:

Mann, D. L., et al. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th edition. Saunders. 2014.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2015

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