Angina Information: Angina (angina pectoris) is a type of temporary chest pain, pressure or discomfort that occurs when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. The most common underlying cause of angina is coronary artery disease, which occurs when the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood become blocked with plaque deposits. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 7 million Americans are diagnosed with angina every year, of which more than 4 million are women. If the angina occurs in predictable situations, such as during exertion or exercise, it is known as stable angina. However, if the painful episodes occur without warning, last longer than normal angina episodes and occur more frequently, it is known as unstable angina. This is a dangerous medical situation that requires prompt medical attention. Unstable angina may signal an impending heart attack. Treatment for angina usually includes a combination of lifestyle changes (e.g., quitting smoking) and medication (e.g., nitrates). If coronary artery disease is present, treatment options may also include medication, balloon angioplasty (with or without stenting) and bypass surgery.
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